Dean Luigi Miraglia of Accademia Vivarium Novum Visits Yenching Academy of Peking University

On the afternoon of September 20, the Academy hosted a visiting delegation of scholars from the Accademia Vivarium Novum, an institute of classical languages, literature, philosophy, and history in Rome. Dean Luigi Miraglia of the Accademia, accompanied by Vice Dean Ignacio Armella Chavez, Professor Giancarlo Rinaldi, and Professor Özséb Áron Tóth, met with Dean Yuan Ming of Yenching Academy, Associate Dean Fan Shiming, Professor Peng Xiaoyu, and other representatives from Peking University. Also present was Ng Junyang, a 2018 graduate of Yenching and a former student at the Accademia.

At the meeting, Dean Yuan Ming spoke about the necessity of bridging the traditions of Asia and Europe, and that this was in line with the mission of Yenching Academy to foster cross-cultural communication focusing on China, but with global concerns in mind. Dean Yuan emphasised the need to work with global partners to think about the trajectory of mankind beyond current concerns about future developments, such as artificial intelligence and genetic editing, and prepare intellectually on the basis of human thought and wisdom.

In response, Dean Miraglia spoke about the prospect of technological progress threatening the abolition of the idea of man as transmitted through history and being transformed into a into machine. He stressed the need to save the heritage and treasures passed on by humanity's ancestors, and that the effort to learn classics would preserve the fruit of human intellectual seed. Dean Miraglia spoke about the common interest of East and West in saving their own classics as their essence, and that a new global education could break down boundaries between humanities and sciences and help natural sciences serve the moral and ethical progress of man.

Speaking about the mutual interest of Yenching Academy and the Accademia Vivarium Novum in finding common intellectual ground, Dean Fan Shiming noted the importance of cultural exchange and convergence of both institutions' goals in exploring humanity's ancient philosophical roots and understanding different traditions from around the world. Dean Fan expressed his desire that Chinese students and Yenching scholars learn more about other cultures and especially Western classics such as the kind studied at the Accademia Vivarium Novum.

The meeting was marked by a musical performance of Homer's Illiad in the original ancient Greek, sung by Professor Tóth, and by an exchange of gifts between Yenching and the Accademia. Dean Yuan presented Dean Miraglia with a book commemorating the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Yenching Scholars programme, while Dean Miraglia presented the Academy with books on the history of Villa Falconieri, the Accademia's home in Rome, and the history of the Accademia Vivarium Novum, amongst other titles.


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