KARACHI: The Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi on Thursday evening celebrated Chinese New Year also known as Happy Spring Festival at an hour-long ceremony on the university campus.
Speaking on the occasion, the Pakistani director of the institute, Prof Nasiruddin thanked KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi for lending a helping hand in organising the event. He wished that the new year would bring happiness and prosperity to China and hoped that Pak-China relations would further strengthen. He told the audience that the institute was in its seventh year having six to seven teaching sites in Karachi with 800 students.
Campus security adviser Dr Moiz Khan said he’s been teaching history for the last 18 years, and among other things he’s taught ancient Chinese civilisation. He claimed China’s is one of the unique civilisations and has “heavily” contributed to the world. In support of his argument he told the gathering that [the invention of] paper is associated with China. He also mentioned calculators and gunpowder that were effectively first used by China.
Psychology department’s Prof Dr Farah said she went to China in 2019 and it proved to be a wonderful and learning experience for her.
Vice Chancellor of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari Dr Akhtar Baloch said when he visited China he saw that everything there was big. “It’s meant to be big because it needs to accommodate a huge number of people.”
‘China’s civilisation is unique and has contributed to the world’
The Chinese director of the institute Prof Xhang Xiao Ping said the Spring Festival was the most important festival for the Chinese people. “Today is New Year’s Eve and it was time for family reunions. In the last two years of my stay here I’ve felt a part of the University of Karachi.”
He said there are a large number of people in the university who are close to him and his colleagues, and in the last seven years the Confucius Institute has developed from a small one to one of the largest in Pakistan.
Dr Khalid Iraqi said the event was about expressing our feelings to the Chinese people. “In your days of enjoyment we are with you. [China’s] New Year festival is just like America’s thanksgiving and Pakistan’s Eid. It’s about family gathering. It’s about connecting families … It is Pakistani culture that we celebrate other nations’ festivals as well.”
He added that the Belt and Road initiative in the context of CPEC is a very important project for Pakistan because it provides connectivity.
After the speeches, a cake was also cut to celebrate the day.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2021