A Letter from Scholars to the Deans and Staff of Yenching Academy

23 March 2020

To the Deans and Staff of Yenching Academy,

It is our great privilege - from Beijing, Delhi, Melbourne, Paris, Abuja, Boston, Rio, and so many other locales - that we take this opportunity to thank you.

The months since Chinese New Year have presented you with unforeseen challenges at a time that should have been with your families and yet, with compassion, patience, and selflessness, you have gone above and beyond to ensure our welfare. There are too many to mention - from bread and fruit deliveries to Shaoyuan, reimbursement of travel costs, and successful organisation of online-classes, to Dean Yuan Ming’s encouraging letters and our Banzhuren check-ups on our individual situations. It is a true credit to Yenching, and a true credit to China.

When we all arrived in Beijing, fresh-faced and ready for a great journey ahead, Dean Yuan Ming remarked:

As the parasol trees in the garden

aspire to the glory of the silvery moon,

below in the humble college yard they shelter,

we converse with the wisdom of all nations and of all ages.

We have all demonstrated, scholars and staff, an ability to converse and share wisdom through these trying times, and this situation has tested and proven the strength of our YCA family bond, which really does transcend the Jingyuan courtyards and our borders.

Dean Yuan Ming also encouraged us to invest fully in every opportunity ahead of us; you will be happy to know that the current situation has given many students an opportunity to nurture new hobbies or knowledge. Cathal from Ireland has made a daily effort to learn something new about each African country; Ankang from China has started learning Spanish; Peixuan from Singapore has been investing time into cooking; and Akosua from Ghana has been working on her development projects.

Thanks to your encouragement, we remain positive through the challenge of being physically apart. As Dean Yuan Ming rightly said in her recent letter, “if a virus knows no borders, so does love”. Everyone at YCA, from the deans and staff to the scholars, exude love and compassion, and it remains one of the beautiful aspects of this community.

We all look forward to celebrating with one another once back in the beautiful grounds of Peking University. Until then, we would like to relay our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for all of your concern and aid. In the meantime, please take care!

Yours sincerely and all the very best,

The 4th and 5th Cohort Scholars of Yenching Academy

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