Following the recent introduction of Chinese language teaching at the Ionian University, the Rector of the Foundation, Professor Andreas Floros and the President of Beijing Language and Culture University, Professor Duan Peng signed a Framework Agreement providing for the establishment of a Greek Sinology Center. The goal of this joint effort is the development of Sinology and Chinese Studies in Greece, with Beijing Language and Culture University already being the seat and administrator of the World Sinology Center.
The Hellenic Center for Sinology based at the Ionian University, upon its establishment, will operate within the Institutes of the University Center for Research and Innovation (PAKEK) of the Ionian University and will be functionally supported by the UNESCO Chair for the Threats against Cultural Heritage and Cultural Heritage-related Activities (TCHER), as well as by the Geocultural Analysis Laboratory ( GEOLAB ) of the Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting.
The Hellenic Center for Sinology, immediately after its establishment, will act as a bridge and platform for the promotion of academic cooperation between China and Greece and more broadly in SE Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean in the fields of Sinology and Chinese Studies, organizing and implementing research and academic activities and exchanges of researchers and students in the field of Chinese Studies and related fields of knowledge. The Center will also support the development of joint research projects in which scholars from Greece and China will participate, implementing - within the study programs of the Academic Departments of the Ionian University - courses and seminars related to China such as (indicatively) Chinese philosophy and culture, cultural heritage, but also translation - interpretation.
The Center will be staffed by academic and administrative staff from the two cooperating universities and will be managed by a joint Committee.
Upon completion of the process of signing the agreement between the two Universities, the Rector of the Ionian University stated "Today's ratification of the cooperation between the Ionian University and the University of Language and Culture of Beijing is the result of intensive work that took place in the previous period starting from the visit a few months ago to Corfu by the President of the World Center for Sinology, Professor Xu Baofeng and a multi-member delegation of professors and researchers from Chinese universities and research institutions. The imminent establishment of the Hellenic Sinology Center based on the agreement signed today is the first academic development initiative organized at the institutional level of the Ionian University in China in recent years, joining the ongoing internationalization effort of the Foundation. With the establishment of the new Center, which will be an academic hub for education and research on Chinese language and culture in the wider Mediterranean region, new possibilities are now opening up, not only for the usual forms of staff mobility, but also for promoting of joint research and study of Chinese culture, with direct application to the first, second and third cycle study programs provided by our Institution. Warm congratulations to my colleague Professor Stavros Katsios for his actions throughout the previous period, which led us to such an important result.'
In turn, the Professor of the Ionian University and holder of the UNESCO TCHAIR Chair, Mr. Stavros Katsios, thanked the Rector for the support and stated "The Sinology Center at the Ionian University escapes the conventional academic mobility by being - and with the substantial support of the Chinese partners - the first academic research and teaching structure in Greek higher education, through which Sinology and more broadly Chinese Studies are introduced to Greece. It was a deficit with particularly negative consequences to this day both for Greek education, as well as the country's economy and international relations. Finally, I believe that the choice of Corfu by the World Center for Sinology, as the center of Sinology and Chinese Studies in Greece, cannot be characterized as merely accidental, taking into account both the multicultural tradition and the geographical location of the island, as well as the interdisciplinary characteristics of the departments of the Ionian University, especially the Department of Foreign Languages Translation and Interpreting and the Museum of Asian Art. I thank the whole team of the UNESCO Chair of the Ionian University and especially my colleague Elena Avramidou for her cooperation and decisive contribution."
On behalf of Beijing Language and Culture University, Associate Professor Dr. Elena Avramidou, as Executive Director of the Center, stated "The establishment of the Hellenic Center for Sinology and Chinese Studies comes to fill a huge gap in the field of Chinese studies in our country. Warm congratulations to the Ionian University and Beijing Language and Culture University who, guided by a shared belief in the necessity of academic cooperation between Greece and China as well as a deeper understanding of our two cultures, signed this agreement.
The Chinese language and culture, as well as their comparison with the Greek language and culture, will be the focus of teaching and research. The Sinology Center aims to contribute, thus, to the dialogue between these two intellectual traditions that developed parallel in time and offered the greatest in the history of thought ; to highlight those elements that make them approach each other and those that differentiate them and to contribute to the understanding of two worlds that continue to feed our thinking".