PKU Professor Yuan Ming gives speech to principals of top schools

Peking: On September 27, principals of top schools in the China-U.S. 1,000 Schools Hands Together Program gathered in Beijing. Officials from China and U.S., as well as principals of 82 top schools across China that join the Program attended a meeting. Yuan Ming, professor of the School of International Studies at Peking University and dean of the Yenching Academy, delivered a keynote speech at the meeting.

As an outcome of the fifth annual China-U.S. High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchanges, the Program was launched by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Beijing in July, 2014. The Program aims to strengthen education for international understanding in primary and middle schools and to cultivate students with global visions.

By recalling milestones in the history of China-US relations, Professor Yuan concluded that modernization played an important role in the bilateral relations, but modernization did not equal to westernization or Americanization. She stressed that people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States was crucial in the modernization drive of Chinese education. From Professor Yuan’s point of view, people-to-people exchanges should between China and the United States should always focus on youth and education because the future of the nations would belong to the youth, and good education could empower the youth to a brighter future. Therefore, it is fair to say that the founding of the Yenching Academy and the launch of the Program are forward-thinking.

Taking the Yenching Academy as example, Dr. Zuo Jing, assistant dean, elaborated on the figures and stories behind the non-governmental exchanges between China and the United States and shared her reflection on cross-cultural communication and education.

Wang Dong is a distinguished graduate of the Class of 2020 with a master’s degree from the Yenching Academy and a Ph.D. student in the PKU Department of Philosophy. As a participant of intercultural communication, he shared the views of the post-95s generation on international people-to-people exchanges. He compared his experience of building friendship with Miles Graham, his American friend at the Yenching Academy, to “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” between youngster from two countries.

In her concluding remarks, Professor Yuan pointed out many challenges regarding the internalization of education. Meanwhile, Professor Yuan exchanged views with the attendees about the healthy development of the internalization of education, expressed her expectations towards people-to-people exchanges between China and the United States in the new era, and encouraged teachers and students to overcome difficulties and undertake responsibilities.