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【NTU Day Special】Universities for the Universe

Peking University, Dec. 20, 2010: “‘A University for the Universe.’ That’s what I’d like to share with Peking University.” Prof. Lee Si-chen, President of Taiwan University (NTU), quoted PKU alumnus Fu Sinian during a speech on the morning of Dec. 20.


Visiting President Lee inaugurated the “NTU Day” at PKU — a day of multiple events for communication, cooperation, and exchange of the two comprehensive universities, with a 120-member delegation. Students and faculty representatives from both NTU and PKU attended the ceremony.


“The NTU Day will be a milestone in the history of mutual cooperation between Peking University and Taiwan University,” PKU President Zhou Qifeng remarked in his welcoming speech.


PKU President Zhou Qifeng


“The visit to PKU is unprecedented, in terms of both the number of delegation members and the depth and breadth of the intercommunication,” said Prof. Zhou. “NTU has become the first university in Taiwan to hold a ‘university day’ here, a grand moment for higher education exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.” Prof. Zhou also expressed his wish to greatly extend and deepen the cooperation between the two sides, in order that PKU and NTU might unite in an effort to join the ranks of world-class universities.


As president of a university with profound historical linkage to PKU, Prof. Lee Si-chen made a keynote speech titled “Time-space Convergence between the Culturally-Diversified NTU and PKU.”


NTU President Lee Si-chen


Prof. Lee reviewed in detail the ties between the two universities from a historical perspective. The Qing Court (1644-1912) launched Jingshi Daxuetang (the Imperial University of Peking), predecessor of PKU, in 1898 as a result of reformist efforts stimulated by suffering defeat in the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95). Another result of the war was the cession of Taiwan and the Penghu Islands to Japan.


On the other side of the strait, the College of Medicine — the earliest college among NTU precursors — originates from the “Medical School of Taiwan Government-General Office” founded by Japanese colonists almost simultaneously around 1899 during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan (1895-1945).


“The first space-time convergence of the two universities occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan were advancing towards modernization,” said Prof. Lee.


The second period of convergence was from 1945 to the 1950s, when individuals from PKU significantly contributed to disciplinary development and education at NTU when they arrived in Taiwan. Among those important figures was Prof. Fu Sinian (Fu Szu-nien, 1896-1950), former acting president of PKU (1945-46) and president of NTU (1949-50).


“It is President Fu that has laid down the core values and soul of today’s NTU,” commended Lee.


According to President Lee, “We contribute ... this University to (the spirit of) the Universe,” a quote from late President Fu ("Women gongxian zhege daxue yu yuzhou de jingshen," relevant to Dutch philosopher Benedict de Spinoza’s view on the universe), should be regarded as a motto for administrators of higher education, according to President Lee.


“In line with this, the motto of our University is also from President Fu — ‘Cultivate virtue, advance intellect; love one's country, love one's people.’"


Prof. Fu Sinian's statue adorned with the NTU motto (File photo/NTUCE Newsletter)


With the reform and opening up of the mainland beginning in 1978 and the deepening communication across the Taiwan Strait, PKU and NTU have stepped into a new period of convergence and cooperation. In 1994, PKU and NTU signed an agreement on academic exchange. Since then, they have explored and practiced cooperation in various fields. One such field is student exchange, which, beginning in 2007, has provided the students with a cross-Strait study experience. The issue of reciprocal diploma recognition between PKU and NTU was also generally resolved in September of this year.


Finally in his speech, Prof. Lee emphasized that both sides' aim of cultivating talent for society would never change in this ever-changing world and that pursuing truth, fostering talent, and contributing to society are the shared values of both universities.


After Prof. Lee’s speech, NTU administrators in charge of academic affairs, student affairs, external affairs, and research and development introduced to the audience specific issues in respective fields at NTU. They also invited PKU faculty and students to visit NTU and enjoy the “Royal Palm Promenade and NTU Azalea Festival” next spring.


After the introduction round, PKU President Zhou and NTU President Lee together unveiled the “Liaison Office of NTU at PKU” and each presented gifts to the other.





Members of the visiting delegation also included Prof. Chen Tai-jen, vice president of NTU, Prof. Liao Hsien-hao, secretary-general of NTU, Prof. Chiang Been-huang, dean for academic affairs, Prof. Feng Yen, dean for student affairs, Prof. Shen Tung, dean for external affairs, and Prof. Chern Ji-wang, dean for R&D. NTU alumnus and PKU Honorary Trustee Yin Yanliang and Deng Ya, PKU assistant president and secretary-general of Education Foundation, also attended the speech. PKU Vice President Li Yansong presided over the event.


The NTU Day at PKU will also highlight an exhibition of NTU student associations, coordinated dialogues among academic disciplines and administrations of the two universities, a meeting for the newly-established committee of bilateral cooperation, as well as a joint performance by PKU and NTU students.



About the Speaker:

Lee Si-chen was born in Taiwan on Aug. 13, 1952. He received a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from NTU in 1974 and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1980 for work on experimental investigation into AlGaAs/GaAs multi-heterojunction properties.


Prof. Lee has been President of NTU since 2005 and President of the Chinese Institute of Electrical Engineering since 2009.



Extended Reading:

PKU News (Chinese): Visiting NTU President Lee Si-chen Speaks at PKU

NTU Day SpecialLargest-ever Delegation of Taiwan University to Visit PKU

PKU and NTU to Forge "Strategic" Alliance



Reported by: Li Jing and Zhang Chunlan

Edited by: Jacques

Copyright 2010 Peking University News | BeidaNews@pku.edu.cn