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September 29, 2009

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Confucius cultural festival to spread wisdom, knowledge

THE Qufu International Confucius Cultural Festival opened on Sunday in Qufu City, birthplace of the Chinese philosopher, Shandong Province.

More than 3,000 diplomats, UNESCO officials, representatives from Confucius Institutes and Confucius' descendants attended the opening ceremony.

A grand ceremony to worship Confucius was held yesterday to celebrate the 2,560th anniversary of the great thinker's birth.

Organizers will also hold performances at the Confucius Temple and the World Confucian Conference.

The World Confucian Conference, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Shandong government, opened earlier on Sunday. It has attracted 306 scholars from 21 countries and regions and will focus on heritage and development of Confucianism, as well as the relationship between Confucianism and art.

Confucius (551-479 BC), a great educator and philosopher, founded Confucianism. His beliefs would go on to deeply influence later generations. He set up private schools and had students from all walks of life.

An annual Confucius Cultural Award was set up during the festival. The first award went to Tu Weiming, a Havard-Yenching professor of Chinese history and philosophy and of Confucian Studies, and the China Confucius Foundation.

The fourth UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was awarded to two educational programs - one in Afghanistan and the other in the Philippines.

The "Pashai Language Development Project" implemented by SERVE of Afghanistan provides meaningful literacy, livelihood, public health and nutrition education annually to about 1,000 Pashai people, especially women and girls, said Tang Qian, deputy assistant director general of Education for UNESCO.

The Municipal Literacy Coordinating Council in the Philippines was awarded for its Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning Program, which provides education and training to 49 villages, Tang said.

Established in 2005, the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy awards the activities of outstanding individuals, governments or governmental agencies and NGOs.


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