Mountains and water look fresh, embraced at night by autumn frost.
Trees with scarlet leaves shine against yellow-colored woods.
—Ode of Autumn, Liu Yuxi
Yanyuan, on this winter day, was infused with the warmth generated by Yenching Scholars’ passions in their vibrant campus life. Throughout the fall semester of 2023, our Scholars joined many interfaculty academic, cultural, and public activities co-organized by the Academy, various departments and colleges of Peking University, on-campus societies, and off-campus organizations. The students drew the “power of connectivity” from these inspiring events, fostering a sense of engagement and collaboration.
Our Interfaculty Communities at Peking University
It is a YCA tradition to hold interfaculty events that provide our Scholars with opportunities to meet new friends from across the university.
On October 25, Yenching Academy, the Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies (AAIS), and the Graduate School of Education co-hosted an orientation for the 32nd Challenge Cup Competitions in Room 201 at Jingyuan Courtyard 3. Counselor Long Yuan from the AAIS graced the orientation with a speech. Over forty students joined the event on-site or online. Students from the Youth League Branch of Peking University and award-winners from the three academies shared their experiences in past competitions. Two award-winning Yenching Scholars—Qiu Zheqian (China, 2021 cohort) with First Prize of Special Contribution Award and Jeeseon Hwang (South Korea, 2022 cohort) with Excellence Prize of Special Contribution Award—gave their suggestions on topic selection, teamwork, and survey/research methodology for the competitions.
On November 9, YCA and the AAIS Graduate Union’s Academic Panel co-organized an English Corner event, joined by the Academy’s overseas students. This event was a sister activity of the Chinese Corner held by the YCA Graduate Student Union, providing a platform for students from around the globe to meet new friends and share their academic and life experiences. Collectively, the students have paved the way for advancing intercultural communication, bridging the gaps created by differences in their mother tongues.
On November 19, YCA Scholars joined students from the Global MBA program, the MBA Student Union of the PKU Guanghua School of Management, and the Tsinghua MBA Student Union for a get-together. Co-organized by the Guanghua Global MBA program and Jae Young Lee, a 2022 cohort YCA Scholar from South Korea, the event facilitated interactions between our Scholars and MBA students from China’s top-notch universities. The event offered insights into China’s job market and career development in Internet technology, business and investment, and consultancy industries. Andey Ng (USA, 2022 cohort) from YCA was delighted to engage with business and management students, exchanging ideas on business and innovation.
Joining Hands to Find Beauty in Life
Beyond academic and career development events, YCA has organized numerous extracurricular activities with student societies at Peking University, enriching our Scholars’ vibrant campus life.
On October 9, Jae Young Lee and the Peking University Students’ Calligraphy and Painting Society co-organized a calligraphy lecture and workshop at Jingyuan Courtyard 4. Over twenty YCA Scholars participated in the event, where our overseas students were introduced to the basics of Chinese calligraphy and wrote their Chinese names using brush and ink. YCA and the Society plan to continue this engagement through an eight-week calligraphy workshop.
Within the group chat “YCA Cat Spotting”, the students share photos of the cats in Yanyuan Garden. These cats have become friends with our students and members of the YCA family. On November 24, YCA invited the Stray Cats Aid Society of Peking University to a roundtable discussion to address issues related to aiding stray cats. Our students gained insights into protecting and helping stray cats within the university. They expressed hope that every stray cat received love.
From Yanyuan Garden to the Outside World
In addition to participating in on-campus interfaculty events, Yenching Scholars have actively engaged in public activities outside the campus, immersing themselves in society to gain a deeper understanding of China and the world.
On October 29, Ebel Clementine Pippa Mary (UK, 2023 cohort) hosted the Second Shaoyuan Salon at the meeting space on Floor 6 of the Shaoyuan dormitory, inviting YCA teachers, students and eight Schwarzman Scholars from Tsinghua University. The participants extensively discussed the historical heritage and cultural life of Beijing. The Shaoyuan Salon stands as an intercultural platform full of vitality.
Between November 2 and November 4, Amanda Cassano (USA, 2022 cohort) worked with the First World Agrifood Innovation Conference (WAIF) as part of the communication team for the WAIF Youth Forum. Fellow YCA Scholars from the 2022 cohort, including Cheryl Yau (Singapore), Callum Thomas (Australia), Andey Ng (USA), Stefano Castelli (Italy), and Roman Shemakov (Ukraine), joined her as youth representatives. They and participants from all over the world addressed a wide range of issues, from sustainable agrifood to innovation in the bio-based economy and rural and agri e-commerce. An audience of over 15 million people watched the live WAIF broadcast.
On November 8, upon Caixin Global’s invitation, three YCA Scholars and three Schwarzman Scholars sat in a debate at Yale Center Beijing. The topic of discussion was whether achieving net-zero emissions is possible when fossil energy remains in use—one of the key topics of COP28.
On December 2, Feng Qiyang (China) and Allen Wang (USA) from the YCA 2023 cohort collaborated with Schwarzman Scholars from Tsinghua University to organize a football match. YCA secured a 3-1 home-field victory. The players and audience from both academies forged a stronger friendship through this match.