Expatriate or Native Chinese Language Teachers for Maritime Southeast Asia? – Confucius Institutes in Perspective


About the Webinar

A Confucius Institute (CI), essentially, is a language school that teaches Mandarin (the standard form of the modern Chinese language) and operates outside China. There are currently over 500 CIs around the world.

CI functions as a partnership between a Chinese university and a host university of the country in which it operates. In this partnership, the Chinese side is mainly responsible for providing teaching materials and instructors. That is to say, the teachers who conduct language and culture classes at the CIs in various countries are sent and sponsored by China. By 2018, these numbers have grown to more than a thousand teachers.

However, recent developments suggest that there is a gradual decline in demand for these teachers, especially in Asia and Africa. What could be the reasons leading to this decline? Does it indicate that China’s CI initiative has begun to lose its relevance? Or does it, on the contrary, signify the success of this global project in grooming a pool of native Chinese language teachers capable of taking up the task of teaching the language to their fellow citizens?

This webinar intends to address these questions, through focusing on the situation in maritime Southeast Asia.

About the Speaker

Dr Neo Peng Fu is a senior lecturer at the National Institute of Education (Singapore) and Director of the Confucius Institute at Nanyang Technological University. He is a historian by training who publishes mainly in two areas: Chinese classics and language-in-education policy (with special reference to Chinese language teaching and learning in Singapore). His detailed publication list could be accessed at: https://www.nie.edu.sg/profile/neo-peng-fu

About the Discussant

Professor Leo Suryadinata is currently Visiting Senior Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He was formerly Professor in the Department of Political Science at the National University of Singapore. He has published extensively on Southeast Asian politics, ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia and China-ASEAN relations. His latest book is Peranakan Chinese Identities in the Globalizing Malay Archipelago (ISEAS Publications, 2022).


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.


Nov 21 2022


10:00 am - 11:15 am