Opening Ceremony of the 2021 Yenching Global Symposium

Opening Ceremony of the Yenching Global Symposium Beijing, April 16th, 2021 --- Today’s inspiring opening ceremony held both in Beijing and virtually all over the world marked the official start of a new iteration of the Yenching Global Symposium. This year, we were joined by more than 150 outstanding delegates from 61 countries representing an impressive array of cultures and backgrounds, who in turn were joined by the Yenching Academy’s scholars from its 5th and 6th cohorts. The ceremony was officiated by this year’s co-chairs, Casey Wang and Michael Yip, from the Yenching Academy’s 6th cohort. At the grand opening, the ceremony's guests were first delighted by the sounds and colors of the Peking University Chinese Orchestra, and Chinese Music Institute of Peking University who played a series of traditional musical pieces that brought every delegate and guest from around the world from their screens and into Peking University's halls. 

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 flatten the curve in climate change, 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 result in 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”. Ms. Tian honored 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. Ms. 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. 

To all the guests, delegates, and speakers, thank you!

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