Peking University, April 19, 2021: The Yenching Global Symposium 2021 commenced both at Peking University and virtually all over the world on April 16, marking the start of a three-day event where participants engaged in constructive, solutions-oriented dialogues regarding the theme “Shared Renewal: Recoupling East with West”.
The opening ceremony began with a wonderful performance. Students from Peking University Student Orchestra and Peking University Chinese Music Club first performed three pieces of Chinese folk music to kick start the symposium. With the traditional Chinese musical instruments harmonizing with each other, a unique Chinese style of beauty and strength was shown to audiences at home and abroad.
The ceremony’s first speaker was Dr. Martin Raiser, country director for China and Mongolia and director for Korea at the World Bank. Dr. Raiser addressed the conference’s guests from his office in the World Bank’s Beijing office. Dr. Raiser posed the question: Why is studying China still important for international development? He shared his insights, signaling the importance of China in the global battle to curve the warming of the Earth, while also speaking of China’s dramatic transformations, sharing his perspective both from his professional and personal experience.
Dr. Raiser was followed by the event’s keynote speaker, Professor Yuan Ming, dean of the Yenching Academy. Professor Yuan told the attendees how she was inspired by the conference’s theme: “Shared Renewal”, and by the efforts of the Yenching Academy’s scholars. Professor Yuan also warned against the essentialization of “Self” and “Other”, which can lead to the perception of others as a threat and thus to conflict. Professor Yuan reminded us of the history of culture or “wen-hua”, citing it as an example of how East and West have worked together in the past. Recoupling between East and West, she concluded, is “not only a good wish for the future, but it is already a historical fact for our mutual past.”
The ceremony’s final speaker was Tian Wei, host of CGTN’s “World Insight”. Tian celebrated the conference’s theme, highlighting the world’s need for renewal. She shared her experience as a world-class journalist and highlighted the importance of understanding all the realities at hand. Tian concluded her remarks by calling upon her colleagues from all over to remain truthful, for she said that the world needs honest and truthful reporting at times like these.
The three-day symposium, which attracted over 150 participants, focused on the three aspects, “reflection”, “resilience”, and “recovery”, to explore and discuss the development model of the cooperation between China and the rest of the world. Through multiple online interactive events such as cultural workshops, social activities, group discussions, it provided a platform for young talents from all over the world to further expand their horizons, enhance friendship, and search for resonance. Through looking back at the consequences of the pandemic, guest speakers explored the solutions that could help strengthen and bring sustainability to societies. The symposium shared on charting recovery across different countries and industries. Looking beyond the post-pandemic world, the symposium explored China’s role in areas such as global governance, sustainable development and technology.
Initiated and organized by Yenching Scholars, the Yenching Global Symposium is an annual flagship event at the Yenching Academy of Peking University that builds bridges to China. It invites emerging leaders, established practitioners, and Yenching Scholars from prestigious institutions around the globe to participate in interdisciplinary dialogues on China, comprising engaging lectures, panel discussions, and interactive sessions that address both China’s impact on the world and the influence that the world has on China.