Last 19 December 2019, the Ateneo de Davao University, joined by representatives of Huaqiao University of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), inaugurated the Confucius Institute on the second floor of the Finster Hall, Jacinto campus. This institute is the first Confucius Institute in Mindanao, and outside Luzon. In partnership with Huaqiao, the Matteo Ricci Mandarin Program in AdDU led the inauguration of the Confucius Institute, which has been long in the making.

This inauguration came a year after Ateneo de Davao University President, Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J., signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and the memorandum of agreement (MoA) with Huaqiao University President Prof. Xu Xipeng last November 2018. Titled “Jointly Establishing Confucius Institute Between Huaqiao University, China, Ateneo de Davao University, Philippines,” the agreement signed by the two presidents formally laid the groundwork to establish the Institute in Davao City. Further, the agreement aimed “to enhance Sino-Philippine friendship, cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries, meet the needs of the local communities to learn Chinese language and culture in the Philippines and promote Chinese teaching.” The institute itself will “actively promote the learning of Mandarin and Chinese history and culture in Mindanao,” and will “promote cultural exchanges and tours between China and the Philippines.”

Part of this is reminding the people of Davao City of their rich historical connections with China, of helping them renew their understanding and appreciation of the cultural heritage of China in the Philippines, and for some, their own familial roots in China.