Egypt's Cairo Opera House held a seminar titled 'Dialogue of Cultures between Egypt and China' on April 10. The seminar focused on the concept of cultural dialogue and methods of communication between different peoples, as well as the means of sharing ideas and opinions through the definition of civilizations.
It also touched on the history of relations between Egypt and China through intellectual and artistic exchanges. The seminar was attended by dozens of intellectuals, writers, translators and college students of the Chinese language.
During the seminar, Shi Yuewen, cultural counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Egypt, said in fluent Arabic that languages are bridges linking different civilizations. Thousands of Egyptian young people are learning the Chinese language in Egyptian universities and institutes across the North African countries, and they can help bring the two peoples closer to each other, he added.
The Chinese official stressed that learning the Chinese language can also help improve the Egyptian economy as students may work for Chinese companies in Egypt after their graduation. The counsellor said there are many Chinese companies in Egypt that hire big numbers of Egyptian graduates of Chinese language. "Those graduates also work as translators for thousands of Chinese tourists who visit Egypt," he noted.
For her part, Zhang Li, regional manager of China Radio International (CRI), said many Chinese media outlets broadcast in Arabic to help introduce the Chinese culture to the Middle East. Media play a key role in bringing cultures together, Zhang added, stressing that China is paying more attention to the Arab region for the historical bonds connecting both civilizations.
Since the upgrading of relations between China and Egypt to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014, cultural exchange has been at its peak as demonstrated by frequent mutual visits between artists as well as cultural and musical delegations. Both countries hope to boost friendly ties through the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which has promoted a deeper understanding between the two countries and woken up the ancient civilization in the new era.
The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aim at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road. Meanwhile, Naser Abdel-Aal, a professor of Chinese language at Ain Shams University in Cairo, said during the seminar that hundreds of young people have joined Chinese language departments at Egyptian universities, as reported by Xinhua.
"This shows that China is of high global weight," Abdel-Aal said, adding that the new generations now do not only learn Chinese to find a good job in the Chinese companies in Egypt but also help China achieve its development plans. "We have to learn from China. To reach this goal, you have to learn the Chinese language," he said. "Our students not only learn the Chinese language, but also the Chinese culture and values."