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Yenching Academy hosts opening ceremony to welcome 6th Cohort Yenching Scholars

SEP . 23 2020
Peking University, September 23, 2020: On September 19, Yenching Academy of Peking University welcomed the 6th cohort of Yenching scholars by hosting an opening ceremony that was held both offline and online with 92 young scholars from around the globe. Wang Bo, vice president of Peking University, and Professor Yuan Ming, dean of Yenching Academy, were among the many prominent figures who delivered speeches at the ceremony.

At the opening ceremony

In his speech, Wang mentioned that maintaining communication is particularly vital given the adverse impact of the global pandemic and the intensifying conflicts of different civilizations. Misunderstandings and scepticism could be avoided with openness and effective communication, therefore young scholars around the world need to remain open-minded and conduct discussions with a strong grasp on scientific and humanistic evidence. He encouraged students to immerse themselves and explore their potential interests at Yenching Academy. Becoming passionate and inspired in the process of learning can turn out as the greatest gift, in which Wang believes would be the most rewarding experience of all.

Wang Bo
Professor Yuan, on the other hand, recounted the conversation she once had with three incoming students from Hubei province. She mentioned that each student was recollecting the bits and pieces of memories filled with heartfelt warmth from friends and family, near or far, that helped them through some of the toughest times during the pandemic. She proposed two important questions: How can higher education play a role in preparing the young generation to be ready for the unknown? How can cross-cultural, cross disciplinary institutions of higher education like the Yenching Academy bring out their students’ full potential? Besides the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many daunting challenges exist in our global community, including but not limited to global climate change, economic recession, gender inequality, and so on. Yenching Academy wished that students would carry the questions above with them on the quest for knowledge, and begin their exploration to find the answers to them all.

Yuan Ming
Brent Haas, director of Admissions Affairs at Yenching Academy, emphasized the rare opportunity Yenching Academy offers for students to learn “Chinese Studies” with an interdisciplinary approach. Yenching Academy was built to encourage active thinking and sharing unique perspectives between young scholars from all over the world, thus it has now become a crucial platform not only to make life-long friendships, but use as a platform for global scholastic exchanges.

Brent Haas
Renowned academics, including Zhang Shiqiu, professor of the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, and Roger T. Ames, humanities chair professor of Peking University and professor emeritus of University of Hawaii, shared valuable insights into the importance of unity when tackling global issues at hand. Professor Zhang said that with understanding and humility, respect for nature and cultural diversity, we can overcome difficulties, end disputes, and resolve conflicts, eventually building a world founded on mutual cooperation. Professor Ames pointed out some of the major concepts that lies in Confucianism and provided an important set of philosophy that still holds much influence in the world today. He encouraged students in the 2020 cohort to do their best cooperating with one another and solve the issues currently existing in the world.

Zhang Shiqiu

Roger T. Ames

Adela Hurtado, who comes from the United States and spoke on behalf of new students, shared stories about her life-long passion for Chinese culture. Some parents also made appearances online by recording much of their hopes and wishes to students in their precious video clips.

Adela Hurtado

At the end of the ceremony, four Chinese and international students from 2020 cohort performed Chinese music and recited Chinese poems in both Chinese and English, which won a warm applause from teachers and students.

Written by: Rose Li
Edited by: Ma Yaoli
Source: PKU News (Chinese)