Equilibrium: Our World in Balance | YGS 2024 Kicks Off

On April 12, the Eighth Yenching Global Symposium (YGS 2024) commenced at the Qiulin Auditorium, Peking University. YGS 2024 received over 10,000 applications from around the world.

A YCA flagship event established and organized by Yenching Scholars, the Yenching Global Symposium (YGS) provides a platform for emerging leaders, established practitioners, and China scholars around the globe to engage in interdisciplinary dialogues on China and explore critical issues related to China and the world through multicultural perspectives.

Themed “Equilibrium: Our World in Balance,” YGS 2024 aims to find equilibrium amid global issues emerging from technological advancements, environmental changes, and cultural shifts, promoting shared prosperity at pivotal historical moments.

The Symposium explored connections and opportunities for cooperation along three dimensions: “Technology X Culture,” “Culture X Nature,” and “Nature X Technology.” Over three days, 196 delegates from 51 countries and regions engaged in in-depth dialogues and insightful discussions with prominent figures from diverse sectors on global challenges and opportunities and the future trajectory of international collaboration.

The opening ceremony kicked off with the melodious tune of the traditional Kunqu opera The Peony Pavilion and a symbolic guqin-zither rendition by Peking University teachers and students of a section of The Peony Pavilion. The audience watched a video following the musical performance highlighting moments in YGS’s history.

Anne Wen (2023 Cohort, USA), C0-Chair of YGS 2024, hosted the opening ceremony. She introduced and highlighted the complex structure of the logo of YGS 2024 – the Chinese character “衡” – noting its symbolism in efforts to drive a dynamic balance between climatic issues and technological innovations in a multicultural context. Anne expressed hope that over the four-day event, YGS would provide a fresh perspective through which the guests and delegates see the world and the relationship between China and the rest of the world, aiming for a balanced approach.

Yenching Academy Dean Dong Qiang of YCA delivered the opening speech. Having just returned from the World Development Forum at Harvard, Professor Dong praised YGS as a vital platform for interdisciplinary dialogues, where young scholars from across the world explore and tackle the most pressing global issues. He highlighted how the Symposium aligns with the Academy’s mission, providing insights into the close connections between China and the world, as well as the significant role China plays in the world.

Dean Dong congratulated the executive committee on choosing the theme “Equilibrium,” which covers various critical topics. He elaborated on the etymological aspect of the Chinese character “衡,” discussing the nuanced differences between Chinese and Western cultures in understanding this character. He noted that “there are uncertainties, so we need more exploration and discussion; and there are bumps, so we need more equilibrium.” Yenching Academy celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and the Academy is an exemplar of equilibrium-based development and growth. Professor Dong wished delegates a fruitful and enjoyable experience at YGS.

Janos Pasztor, former Executive Director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G) and former United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Change in New York, delivered the keynote speech. Mr. Pasztor discussed the drastic impacts of climate change and increasing human consumption on the global equilibrium, leading to issues such as the greenhouse effects of heavy pollution, poverty, and population-related challenges. The previous equilibrium has been broken as the international order continues to evolve. The keynote speaker expressed hope that the young delegates, representing youth worldwide, would explore new paths for recreating a new equilibrium through inspiring discussions at YGS.

YGS 2024 delved into diverse topics across the three dimensions of “Technology X Culture,” “Culture X Nature,” and “Nature X Technology” on April 12, 13, and 14, respectively.

April 12: Technology X Culture

The first day of the conference explored how technological innovations shape and are, in turn, influenced by cultural contexts and how technological innovations are changing, improving, and complicating contemporary Chinese society. The discussions also uncovered how technological innovation achievements interact with and impact Chinese values, traditions and customs, and social expectations.

April 13: Culture X Nature

The second day of YGS examined how human society interacts with the local environment, providing opportunities to learn about Chinese innovations in sustainable fashion and other forms of artistic expression that promote environmental sustainability.

April 14: Nature X Technology

The third day of YGS broadly unpacked how established and emerging technologies are addressing contemporary environmental issues in China and globally.


  • Address: Jingyuan Courtyard 3, Peking University, 5 Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100871

    Tel:010-6275 3625


  • Admissions

    Tel: 86-10-6274 4510 (Domestic)

    86-10-6276 6358 (International)


  • Media

    Tel:010-6276 8317


  • Alumni

    Tel:010-6275 6761


Copyright  © 2018 Yenching Academy of Peking University