A New "Renaissance" Begins!

On the morning of April 12, 2018, the third Yenching Global Symposium (YGS) officially commenced at Peking University. YGS is a four-day conference lead and organized by scholars from the Yenching Academy of Peking University. Yesterday, Yenching Academy scholars, alumni, experts, and more than 200 outstanding delegates from 62 different countries gathered around the theme of: “Renaissance: China's Journey in a Global Future”. The theme of this year’s forum is an in-depth exploration of China's multi-faceted renaissance in a rapidly shifting global arena. This forum also serves as Yenching Academy’s commemoration of Peking University’s 120th anniversary.

The Opening Ceremony kicked off with Liu Hengqi's mesmerizing performance on the Gu Qin. Through his lyrical melody, he adeptly conveyed the wisdom and philosophy of the Chinese ancients.

Giving the opening speech, Aliza Warwick, a third cohort American scholar at Yenching Academy, shared her story as the Chairwoman of the Symposium’s Executive Committee. She described a conversation she had with a Beijing taxi driver about China’s rising role in the world and how it resonated with the forum’s theme. Ms. Warwick reflected on her experiences at Yenching Academy, sharing her hopes about what the Symposium would bring to the delegates and Yenching Scholars participating. During the months leading up to the event, she and her fellow students on the Executive Committee spent months working tirelessly to set the agenda and prepare for the Symposium.

After Ms. Warwick shared her vision for the conference, Dean Yuan Ming warmly welcomed all guests and encouraged participants to exchange and debate during the forum. She briefly reviewed the themes of previous forums, reflecting on the creative and innovative thinking of Yenching students. Finally, Dean Yuan Ming asked: “who are we?”, prompting the audience to continue exploring different identifies, groups, societies, and countries. With her opening remarks, Dean Yuan Ming encouraged participants to collaboratively contribute to the future development of the world.

Wrapping up the Opening Ceremony was Li Jing, the Global Head of Enrollment and Marketing at Whittle School and Studios. She delivered her insights on the globalization of education. She began her keynote speech by congratulating Yenching scholars for actively exploring ‘international education’. By sharing her stories of working with a Native American student at a school in China, she proposed that “internationalization is not one-way, but bi-directional,” and emphasized the responsibility of teachers to promote international education.

Following the Opening Ceremony, Li Shan, CEO of Silk Road Finance Co. Ltd., delivered a keynote presentation on the "Belt and Road Initiative". After reviewing the history of the ancient Silk Road, he analyzed the opportunities and challenges that the “One Belt and One Road Initiative” will face. He talked about strategic development through the six trade corridors and the “five-pass” plan, whereby countries along the route share common opportunities of direct investment and infrastructure construction. However, he mentioned the challenges they face including: operational barriers, fundraising, and project operations. Mr. Li referenced the "Digital Silk Road”, and other innovations such as electronic money, online trade, and the development of smart cities as strategies towards creating a brighter future.

This four-day Symposium will focus on “Renaissance" and topics such as culture, entrepreneurship, women, economics, education, environment, health, and science and technology. Additionally, there will be a number of hands-on activities such as cultural workshops and site visits to local organizations in Beijing. This year’s Symposium will also host an inaugural Concert where the “Oriental Beauty Youth Orchestra of Wuhan” will perform classical Chinese music.