The past weekend is long over in China, and as the sun set in the distant horizon to the west of Beijing last Sunday, our conference finally came to its official conclusion. It has been three days of inspiring and thought-provoking lectures and conversations, three days of intercultural dialogue, and three days spent with friends from all over the world. The ultimate purpose of the Yenching Global Symposium was to bring East and West closer together at a time when the world is veering more and more towards division, but if YGS 2021 has proven anything it is that our world still has the potential for a shared renewal. The final event of the conference was our official closing ceremony, led by our co-chairs Casey Wang and Michael Yip from the Yenching Academy’s 6th cohort. They were joined by the event’s keynote speakers, Dr. Brent Haas, Associate Dean of the Yenching Academy, and Ms. Ronna Chao, CEO of the Bai Xian Education Foundation and Bai Xian Asia Institute.
After an awe-inspiring presentation by the Peking University Association of Peking and Jun Operas (PKO), Dr. Haas spoke in the name of Peking University and of the Yenching Academy. He shared with all of us his reflections on the history of the study of China, and on the global need for scholarship on the cultures of the world. He also shared several pieces of advice to all of our young scholars, telling them to remain open to new possibilities, and to be committed to cross-cultural communication. Dr. Haas was followed by Ms. Ronna Chao, who spoke on behalf of the Bai Xian Education Foundation and Bai Xian Asia Institute. Ms. Chao reminded our delegates that all of us can affect change, and that everyone’s efforts count, while highlighting Humanity’s ability to adapt through these challenging times. She concluded that mutual understanding and communication will be the way forward, in this battle as a global community.
These have been three unforgettable days that will last in the memories of our delegates and our scholars for years to come. Guided by our objective to foster multicultural communication, this year’s conference has been “Recoupling East with West”. In that spirit, together with our scholars, speakers, and delegates we reflected on day one about the issues facing the world, worked towards global resilience in day two, and realized that recovery is both possible and necessary on our third and final day.
On behalf of the Yenching Global Symposium’s Executive Committee, and of the Yenching Academy, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to every delegate, scholar, speaker, guest, and volunteer who made this adventure possible. This was the first online iteration of the Symposium, and it has proven to be a roundabout success thanks in no small part to all of you. Now, as we look to the future, only one thing remains to be said.
We will see you in 2022!