The Centre of Chinese Language and Culture "Confucius Institute in Kraków" of the Jagiellonian University has moved to new premises. For staff and students this means not only the change of address, but also tremendous improvement of work and study conditions. The new building at ul. Oleandry 2a was officially opened on 15 May 2019 by the Rector of the Jagiellonian University Prof. Wojciech Nowak and the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Poland Liu Guangyuan.
“I am very proud of the strategic decision to allocate this building, in the very centre of the historical city of Kraków, to the JU Confucius Institute and the JU Institute of the Middle and Far East. These two institutions not only teach Chinese language and culture, but jointly create an important a platform for academic cooperation between Poland and China”, said the Rector of the Jagiellonian University Prof. Wojciech Nowak, who also stressed that the new premises, renovated thanks to the joint effort of Polish and Chinese institutions, will serve as an example of fruitful cooperation between the two countries.
In his address, Ambassador Liu Guangyuan congratulated the JU Confucius Institute for its extraordinary achievements, which resulted in obtaining the title of Model Confucius Institute, which has been awarded to only 50 Confucius Institutes out of 548 such institutions all over the world.
The renovation of the building, constructed in the 1960s, took more than a year to complete. Its modernisation included the reinforcement of ceilings, the construction of a new staircase and lift shaft, the replacement of all systems along with window and door frames, as well as the demolition of internal brick walls and their replacement by drywalls.
The building was constructed in accordance with the sustainable development principles, with special focus on environmental protection and economical management of natural resources during construction and usage. It is equipped with the Building Management System (BMS), which allows control of all systems and devices in the facility. The building includes classrooms, a language lab, offices for staff, and an assembly hall, which can seat 126 people and may be divided into two separate rooms.
The building is surrounded with greenery inspired by the traditional Chinese art of garden design, which will serve both as a place to relax and an inspiration to learn about Chinese art and culture.
“The building at Oleandry street provides us with far greater comfort and opportunities. Over a thousand square metres with state-of-the art equipment provide perfect teaching conditions. The new premises, located in the city centre, easily accessible and surrounded by a garden are in itself an invitation to discover China. When we started our activity 13 years ago we had only one room at our disposal. Then, for many years we worked in historical but not too spacious rooms at Radziwiłłowska street. The two extensive floors at Oleandry are a huge leap forward”, says Dr Bogdan Zemanek, Director of the Confucius Institute in Kraków.
The 4-storey building with a floor space of 2 thousand square metres and a volume of 8.6 thousand cubic metres will house not only the Confucius Institute but also the JU Institute of the Middle and Far East. The whole project cost 17 million zlotys, over a half of which was covered by the Chinese partners.
The JU Confucius Institute in Kraków was established in 2006 and is one of over 500 distributed around the world. Its main aim is to promote Chinese language and culture. For many years, the Institute has been conducting language courses for JU students and other people interested in learning Mandarin, offering internationally recognised certificates. It also offers specialist business Chinese courses. Every year, the Institute organises about 80 cultural events, such as lectures, workshops, presentations, trainings, movie screenings, exhibitions, and celebrations of traditional Chinese festivals.
The Institute’s strategy for the next two years is focused on two main aspects. The first one is constantly increasing the quality of education offered by the Institute. The second is supporting and promoting the work of researchers interested in China. The Institute will also assist other University units in collaboration with Chinese institutions.