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Iranian students keen to promote Chinese culture

Updated: 2023-12-05 09:31 ( Xinhua )
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TEHERAN — Any visitor to the Chinese Culture Week at the University of Tehran would be amazed by the tea, food, Chinese knotting and traditional paper-cutting artworks on display, all produced by Iranian students of Chinese language.

"Chinese knots are believed to bring good luck and act as charms that ward off evil spirits," said Zeinab Ghafourian, a 19-year-old sophomore studying Chinese at the Confucius Institute of the University of Tehran, on Nov 28.

Chinese Culture Week, which was held at the lobby of the institute from Nov 25 to 29, seeks to introduce Chinese culture to more Iranians.

Ghafourian says that one of the reasons she chose to study Chinese is because she has been interested in East Asian cultures since childhood. "In addition, Chinese films have become more popular," she says.

More importantly, given Iran's good ties with China, mastering Chinese offers better employment prospects on the Iranian job market compared to other languages, she explains.

Mohammadreza Gholamrezaei, another sophomore at the institute that opened in 2009, says he also chose to learn Chinese due to his interest in the country's culture and history.

He says that the people of both countries enjoy many cultural commonalities, as they were culturally and economically connected via the Silk Road in the past.

"Given China's increasing global influence, as well as its friendly and expanded relations with Iran, learning about the country in an unmediated way is becoming important," says Hamed Vafaei, the Iranian director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Tehran.

He adds that students who are studying Chinese at the institute will enter different sectors of society in the future and introduce more Iranians to China.

As China being the world's second-largest economy, and one of the most populous countries, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, learning Chinese is becoming a necessity, as many people around the world have realized, he says.

"In addition, Iran needs to know its counterparts, and one of the most important is China," Vafaei says, adding that Iran and China have built strong political, economic and cultural relations.

"Each of the students here is a window onto China, helping the Iranians have a more realistic picture of the country, which will improve bilateral relations," he adds.

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