On June 29th, 2020, the Yenching Academy of Peking University held a memorable joint online and offline Graduation Ceremony for its 2020 graduates. Wang Bo, Vice President of Peking University sent his blessings to the students in a video message. Yuan Ming, Dean of the Yenching Academy, Associate Dean Fan Shiming, Director of Graduate Studies, Lu Yang, Assistant Dean Chen Changwei, and Associate Professor of School of International Studies Liu Haifang all attended this event. 12 graduates were also in attendance, while the rest of the graduates participated online through Zoom. Brent Haas, Director of Admissions Affairs, hosted the ceremony.
The ceremony began with a video highlighting the graduates’ two years at the Yenching Academy. Following the video, Dr. Haas gave the opening speech. He began by saying this is a special moment for graduates to reflect on what they have achieved and learned in the past two years. He also encouraged them to think and get excited for their future. He then expressed his hope that all graduates will become vigorous thinkers, better scholars, and more interesting and engaging citizens.
After Dr. Haas’s speech, Vice President Wang Bo began his video message by noting that Yenching Scholars helped Peking University become a more open and diverse community. When facing this worldwide epidemic, he urged young scholars from all over the globe to make a greater effort to address the fear and distrust that characterizes current global affairs through cultural exchange. He then shared his three hopes for graduates; first, to equip themselves with knowledge to keep apace with the times; second, to remain true to themselves and speak honestly and assume responsibility even when things are hard; and third, to be compassionate and kind, because these are the qualities that will help them to go a long way. He also urged graduates to become better people, care about the world around themselves and beyond, and give back to society.
Next, Associate Professor Liu Haifang, spoke on behalf of all the faculty members of the Academy. She said that one should learn to cross social-cultural boundaries and maintain awareness of the sensibilities of underlying nuances in appreciating the object of one’s studies. She also emphasized the Peking University spirit: “Always new, always first”. Instead of locking oneself into a room to read, she urged scholars today should go out to face reality and to identify the real issues on the ground.
In their subsequent remarks, Wang Dong from China and Emily Vincent from the United States gave their speeches on behalf of the graduates. In his speech, Wang Dong shared his experience of growth at the Yenching Academy by “staying foolish”- that is, staying foolish by being aware of the need to change one’s attitude and striving to overcome preconceived notions and stereotypes, both of which have set him upon a different path than he was on before coming to the Academy. After Wang Dong, Emily Vincent gave her speech by likening study and life at the Yenching Academy to a “Zoom interview”, where seemingly perfect events and triumphant moments are akin to the visible upper half of one’s body, while the obscured bottom half in the “Zoom interview” represents the times scholars struggled behind closed doors or only in the company of friends and didn’t have the right answer. She reminded the audience that those “pantsless moments” are the times when one needs a friend, and that these were the most valuable memories graduates can take from this degree.
At the end, Dean Yuan gave her speech. She recalled some moments from various field trips the graduates undertook during the last two years, which helped them to learn about different aspects of China, as well as the broader stories which connect all mankind. She also recalled the theme of the Yenching Global Symposium held in 2019, which combined “women” in English with “wǒ men” which means “we human beings” in Chinese Pinyin, providing a new perspective and redefinition of the already known versions of Chinese stories. Finally, she encouraged graduates to bear “ wǒ men” in the hearts, draw on cross-cultural capabilities, mobilize their strengths and unrealized potential to face new challenges and difficulties, and meet the needs of the times and of people.
After the speeches, Dr. Haas read the list of the names of all of the 2020 graduates. The ceremony culminated with Sun Anli from China and Jovana Bogojevic from Montenegro co-performing a Guzheng and flute ensemble "Jasmine" to send their blessings to their peer graduates attending around the world.
Congratulations to all the graduates:
Sosan Afghan，Marketa Bajgerova，Daniel Benson，Sofia Biasin，Jovana Bogojevic，Péter Boros，Megan Cansfield，Cao Lu 曹露，Cao Mengyao 曹梦瑶，Cao Mingyao 曹铭瑶，Kelsi Caywood，José Pablo Ceballos Cantú，Alicia Junyi Chen Luo，Chen Changyu 陈昶宇，Michael Chen ，Eric Chien，Ye Rin Chu，Kelly (Leena) Dai，Chloe Dempsey，Olesya Dovgalyuk，Tobi Wang Du，Fu Yi 傅奕，Amit Shmuel Gal-Or，Gao Zihao 高子豪，Kaloyan Georgiev，Guo Jingyuan 郭静远，Shriyam Gupta，Jacob Grant Hamel，Wesley Harfield，Olivia Holder，Kourosh Houshmand，Huang Chuying 黄楚英，Daniel Huang，Caleb Huffman，Younghyun Jeon，Zoe Jordan，Tatum Zinzi Joseph，Supral Raj Joshi，Hannah Rose Kirk，Anastasia Kurbatova，Andreas Mckenzie George Kyriakos，Lisa Stefanie Laeven，Jun-Hyuk (Michael) Lee，Kangkyu (David) Lee，Lei Xuefei 雷雪飞，Abdou Rahim Lema Mohamed，Gabriel Lerner，Dev Lewis，Li Jiaxin 李佳欣，Liang Kun 梁坤，Liu Jiayue 刘嘉越，Liu Lu 刘璐，Liu Yutong 刘宇彤，Hana Lord，Gabriel Losada Pérez，Lu Lu 卢璐，Ilari Mäkelä，Carlisle Micallef，Kazuki Miyazaki，Dhanasree Molugu，Ethan Paul，Peng Dongni 彭冬妮，Vivek Anand Pisharody，Guillaume Prevot，William Weitao Qiang，Fiona Quimbre，Antonio Roberto Quiroz Soto，Alicia Rodríguez Alabarce，William Sandlund，Péter Sczigel，Ankur Samir Shah，Shao Xinyu 邵薪羽，Audrey Shi，Harel Sholovitz，Bernice Tak So，Risa Sone，Veronika Spurná，Theresa Stubhan，Sun Anli 孙安利，Zi Xiang Tan，Pim ten Haaf，Michal Tkocz，Anastasia Tsyk，Agne Veisaite，Federico Verly，Emily Vincent，Trang Vu Hong，Wang Boxuan 王博轩，Wang Dong 王栋，Wang Xin 王鑫，Kameko (Rae) Winborn，Xu Miao 徐妙，Elif Yıldırım，Angela Zhang，Nina Zholudeva