CHENGDU, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Confucius Institutes have played an important role in boosting ties and cultural exchanges, said delegates attending the 13th Confucius Institute Conference in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province.
Isaac Meroka Mbeche, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi in Kenya, is also the director of the university's Confucius Institute, which is the first in Africa.
The dual training of Chinese and vocational technology have prepared local students for better jobs after graduation, especially in Belt and Road projects and Chinese companies, according to the director.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom was established in 807, and now has opened nearly 80 classes with a total of 14,000 local residents learning Chinese there, said Keith Burnett, former vice-chancellor of the university.
Confucius Institutes serve as a bridge of mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world, he said.
"My favorite thing is telling my parents the Chinese stories I've learned at the Confucius Institute," said a 12-year-old American girl in fluent Chinese. She has a Chinese name Kang Kemi, and has been learning Chinese for seven years.
Nearly 1,800 university presidents and representatives of Confucius Institutes from more than 80 countries and regions attended the two-day conference that concluded on Wednesday.
China has established 548 Confucius Institutes in 154 countries and regions. A total of 46,700 full-time and part-time Chinese and foreign teachers now teach in Confucius Institutes and 1,193 Confucius classrooms at primary and middle schools across the globe. Another 810,000 people have registered for online lessons.
This year will see 80 new Confucius Institutes, according to the conference.
China has been establishing the non-profit education organization since 804, aiming to promote cross-cultural exchanges.