Belvedere College - Visit of Xi Jinping

Visit of Xi Jinping

Visit of Xi Jinping

Visit of Xi Jinping, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China

Xi Jinping hosted at Jesuit college in Dublin

DUBLIN (SE): The Jesuit-run Belvedere College hosted Xi Jinping, the vice president of the People’s Republic of China, to a performance of Riverdance during his visit to Ireland in February this year.

The Irish Jesuit News reported on February 29 that the headmaster, Gerry Foley, said that hosting Xi at the college was indeed a great honour and recognition of the course in Chinese studies that the college has been running for over five years.

Xi was accompanied by members of the Irish-Chinese Community, as well as Liu Biwei, the ambassador from China to the Republic of Ireland, Hugh Brady, president of University College Dublin, and Brian MacCraith, president of Dublin City University.

Andrew Montague, the lord mayor of Dublin, and Liming Wang, director of the Confucius Institute at the university college, attended, along with members of the Irish parliament.

An integral part of the Belvedere College Chinese studies course has been a segment called transition, where students are offered the opportunity of a one-year exchange study programme in China.
While the exchange was initially based at the Jesuit-run and Irish-founded Wah Yan College in Hong Kong, today it is hosted in Beijing.

Belvedere College was one of the first schools in Ireland to receive the Confucius Classroom Award from the Confucius Institute in the country.

A central part of the study exchange programme is engagement in a missioning segment that explores issues related to spirituality, freedom and past Jesuit connections with China, including the great missionary, Father Matteo Ricci.

The Irish Jesuit News says, “During their exchange the students use a reflection journal, designed to help them explore their reactions to a culture that is so different from theirs. The hope is that students will develop a better understanding of China’s culture, history and language, as well as developing friendships with their host families and students that they meet in the partner school in China.”
When they return to Ireland, they are expected to engage in reflection on all aspects of their experience, including their understanding of God within their experience of Chinese culture.

Belvedere College has also been teaching Mandarin language for the past two years. The course is taught by Chinese teachers living in Ireland, but recently welcomed a new coordinator, David O’Grady, a science teacher who speaks the language.

The current batch of students to take part in the transition year arrived in Beijing on March 2.

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