XI'AN, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Innovation in Confucius Institutes will push cultural exchange between China and other countries to a new level, according to attendees of the 12th Confucius Institute Conference, held Wednesday in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
An online Confucius Institute was launched Tuesday. With a large database and powerful learning tools, people who want to learn Chinese can simply register and join courses online to learn from experienced Mandarin teachers.
"The launch of the online service allows Confucius Institutes to continue to be the bridge of cultural communication in the era of Internet Plus," said Zhang Lingyan, head of the online platform.
Confucius Institutes have been playing the role of overseas Chinese culture ambassadors since 2004. A total of 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 related courses have been established in 146 countries and regions around the world, receiving more than 9.16 million students. In 2017 alone, over 12.7 million people participated in cultural events organized by institutes around the world.
Anatoli Tozik, director of the Republican Confucius Institute of Sinology at Belarusian State University, said it was time for the Confucius Institutes to enter a new phase.
"Apart from traditional courses at the institutes, we also open classes for adults outside the school," said Xu Ying, with the Confucius Institute at the University of Bologna, Italy. "We even recruit local teachers to make up for the shortage of Chinese teachers in Italy."
Five years ago, the world's first Music Confucius Institute was established at the Royal Danish Music Academy. More than 500 students have studied Chinese music at the academy.
Zhao Min, who was in charge of establishing the music institute, said music was even more powerful and effective than language, and the music institute would promote mutual understanding and communication between Chinese and Western cultures.
"We must seek wisdom and nutrition from various civilizations to solve the challenges we face today," said Luke Mumba, president of the University of Zambia.
"Cultural exchanges can help stop violence, and change people's minds. We can protect the future of our offspring through talks and cultural exchanges," said Cecilia White, former education minister of Colombia.
Nearly 2,500 delegates, including university presidents and representatives of Confucius Institutes from more than 140 countries and regions, attended the annual two-day event, which concludes Wednesday.