UN family in Ethiopia marks Chinese Language Day with call for cultural, linguistic diversity
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CFP Image

The United Nations family in Ethiopia on Wednesday marked the Chinese Language Day with an aim to promote Chinese language and culture by promoting linguistic and cultural diversity.

The Chinese language commemoration event, which was co-hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the Chinese Mission to the African Union (AU), was held virtually due to COVID-19 concerns.

Oliver Chinganya, Officer in Charge(OIC) of UNECA, and Director of the Division of Statistics, said the celebrations acknowledged the day as an important part of the United Nations's promotion of multilateralism, cultural multilingualism, cultural and linguistic diversity, and the equitable use of the UN's six official languages.

"Chinese is the language of education, knowledge acquisition, science, politics, international relations, and business. The UN Economic commission for Africa has been offering Chinese language courses to staff members to broaden their linguistic horizons," he said.

The celebration event featured presentations on the Chinese language and culture, traditional Chinese dance and personal experience of Chinese culture and language by African youth, traditional Chinese music, Tai Chi performance as well as presentation on Chinese calligraphy.

Participants emphasized that the Chinese Language Day celebration event could be seen as an important platform in creating awareness of the Chinese language in particular and Chinese culture in general to the rest of the world.

Chen Xufeng, Charge d'Affaires of Mission of China to the AU, said in line with the ever-growing demand for Chinese language across the world with growing numbers of Chinese language students, some 16 African countries have already incorporated Chinese language in their education system.

"Chinese language, written in Chinese characters, embodies the wisdom of Chinese civilization. It plays an active role in facilitating people around the world to learn Chinese culture and social development," Chen said.

The Chinese language is one of the six languages of the United Nations. The other five are Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Ma Jianfei, Director General of Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC) of China, on his part emphasized the huge significance of bolstering China-Africa ties in the education sector, with particular emphasis given to linguistic studies.

"Language exchange has always played a fundamental and leading role to China-Africa cooperation in various fields; and tens of thousands of Chinese learners and graduates have become the backbone of building Africa and facilitating the China-Africa friendship," he said.

The United Nations family in Ethiopia annually commemorates the Chinese Language Day in line with the decision by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) back in 2010 to mark the Chinese Language Day on April 20.

The decision envisaged celebrating multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of the UN's official working languages throughout the organization's structure and activities.

April 20 was chosen as the Chinese Language Day to pay tribute to Cangjie, a mythical figure claimed to have invented Chinese characters.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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