Confucius Institutes (Chinese: 孔子学院) are international cultural and educational centres created by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban, 国家汉办, Beijing, PRC) in collaboration with foreign sinological centres. Alongside the “Institutes”, Confucius “classrooms” are established. Some Institutes have specialization, for example, Business Confucius Institute in Athens, Chinese Medicine Confucius Institute in London. From the Chinese part, the Head office of Confucius Institutes (Hanban) coordinates work and provides funding. The Institutes are named after the outstanding thinker, philosopher and teacher of antiquity, Confucius, by analogy with the Spanish Cervantes Institute and the German Goethe-Institute.
Confucius is an outstanding representative of the Chinese people's culture. Nowadays Institutes named after him are being created all over the world. As an access to the Oriental World, Confucius Institute meets the demands of those who want to study the Chinese language all over the world, helps people from different countries know more about the culture and history of China, introduces the achievements of Chinese Civilization, serves as a bridge of culture, friendship and mutual understanding between China and peoples of different countries of the world.