The Confucius Institute at Liberia University, which was jointly established by Changsha University of Science & Technology in China and the Liberian government, through the University of Liberia (UL) nearly 4 years ago , has made some landmark achievements in the area of cultural exchange program.
In an exclusive interview over the weekend at the Capitol Hill Campus of UL in the Officer of the Confucius Institute Director, Dr. Alpha Bah disclosed that he, along with 10 students, have just returned from a two weeks Summer Camp trip to China. He asserted that the program is designed to expose UL students to Chinese culture, as students are afforded the opportunity to go to China for a tour of centers of historical and cultural of importance.
Dr. Bah asserted that the Summer Camp Trip is to build an additional relationship between students of UL and those of Changsha University of Science and Technology in China, through direct contact between the two students' group.
He averred that there are various scholarships available for offer in this program at the Confucius Institute, to enable recipients to interact with Chinese Students, but not as much as what is experienced at the two Weeks Summer Camp as both students exchange cultural activities- dancing and singing in Chinese and English languages.
Furthermore, he maintained that students who go on summer Camps have the opportunity of going beyond the University of Changsha; they visit Chairman Mao's home town, Bejing the capital, the Chinese forbidding City and various historic and cultural centers.
He pointed that such chances are not given to other students, who to study Chinese language and culture for one year and more in China.
Dr. Bah further explained that: "You cannot understand people or nations without knowing their history: there is no way you can know any group of people or nations without knowing their history".
He mentioned that the students who participated in the trip went to a park established and maintained in the name of Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher; and as part of the tour, they also later went to Chairman Mao's Conference center. Mao is the chief builder of Modern People's Republic of China.
Commenting on Confucius's contribution in China, Dr. Bah said, Confucius was all things to China. For many, people look at Confucianism as a religion. But Confucius was a philosopher, his teachings on education, politics, moral politics helped in enlightening political leaders, he asserted
"For me, he is the great philosopher, I admired him more because I believe in enlightening people to lead" he said,
Comparing Chairman Mao to Confucius, Dr. Bah said, the two great men were opposites in ideas. He explained that during Mao's era, one does not hear about Confucius, but the new China has brought back Confucius because of his teachings, he brought standards for civil servants bureaucracy .
Explaining further, he said one has to be too sound to make a pass in that exam, adding that in fact one has to spend 20 years on hard studies to be qualified for the Chinese civil service exam, Dr. Bah noted
He noted that Confucius was loved by the masses, but was not the champion of the masses; he was a champion f the survival of the defeat, stating that Confucius was Socrates, Machiavelli all put together double. For Chairman Mao, he said was a wonderful leader suitable for the 20th Century, he was much more a mass mobilizer and took the government to the people.