Should Albanians learn Chinese?

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"Long live the friendship between the peoples of China and Albania", a ubiquitous poster in China in 1960s (chinadaily.com.cn)
"Long live the friendship between the peoples of China and Albania", a ubiquitous poster in China in 1960s (chinadaily.com.cn)
“Long live the friendship between the peoples of China and Albania”, a ubiquitous poster in China in 1960s (chinadaily.com.cn)

During Albania’s budy-budy relations with China, the country’s ruling communist regime was very friendly and open to everything from the Chinese culture and language. Though it was not required in schools, there were those who committed themselves to learning the language, but that phase lasted for about ten years until relations broke in 1967.

Today, those “warm relations” represent another episode from of our not-so-distant communist past which still lingers in the mind of people who lived during those years. However, it seems that today’s ruling regime has decided that learning the Chinese language could be an advantage for the elementary level pupils. Currently, under the government’s new directives pre-university pupils are required to study two foreign languages, of which English, French, German or Spanish were among the electives. But now, Prime Minister Berisha has suggested that they should also be offered to learn Chinese, though this will gladly be left to the decision of the administration of each school.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha in the Great Hall of the People during the afternoon (ChinaDaily.com.cn)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha in the Great Hall of the People during the afternoon (ChinaDaily.com.cn)

The decision has been welcomed as another “out of the blue” type of directive that comes forth from our great leader, but nevertheless I would not undervalue it completely.

During my MBA studies I remember reading the words of one world-renewed billionaire called Warren Buffet. I remember him talking about the growing influence of China in particular the next super-power that will dominate the world not only economically but also culturally and otherwise. Just the other day, I was listening to BBC WorldNews reporting about how job candidates for multinational corporations operating in Asian countries were preferred more if they knew Chinese besides English as a language. Today, China continues to influence the world through Hollywood and other forms of art and entertainment. Chinese students are stationed all over the world to study and live in major countries of the world under government sponsorship so that later they can become business and cultural ambassadors of their own country. This is long-term planning for whatever else is to come.

That is why I am of the opinion that in the long-term schema of things, learning Chinese, besides English could become a great asset, even a necessity for those involved in international business and relations. Personally I am intrigued by the Japanese culture, but cannot say that I have any particular interest in engaging their language!