Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity’s Yench­ing Acad­emy is be­com­ing an in­ter­na­tional hub for the next gen­er­a­tion of cross-cul­tural lead­ers

ChinAfrica - - China Report - By François Dubé

We want to groom cross-cul­tural lead­ers for our fu­ture world. For this, the YCA scholars need to un­der­stand the long Chi­nese his­tory, its DNA; not only what China looks like, but what it re­ally is.

“this au­di­to­rium has wit­nessed many his­tor­i­cal events and I be­lieve this will be one of them.” Th­ese pro­found words launched the 2016 Yench­ing Acad­emy (YCA), an elite in­ter­na­tional pro­gram at Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity that this year saw a gath­er­ing of 124 out­stand­ing young men and women from 42 coun­tries. The tal­ented group of­fi­cially be­came Yench­ing Scholars at the uni­ver­sity’s old au­di­to­rium on Septem­ber 10.

Es­tab­lished in 2014 and funded through a unique pri­vate-pub­lic scheme, YCA is an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary mas­ter’s pro­gram fo­cus­ing on Chi­nese eco­nomics, pol­i­tics and phi­los­o­phy, which aims at build­ing bridges be­tween China and the world. Young scholars spend 12 months in res­i­dence in Beijing, and then a year ded­i­cated to writ­ing their the­sis and un­der­go­ing in­tern­ships in China or elsewhere. For th­ese young scholars, this ad­ven­ture will trans­form their world and gives them nec­es­sary tools for their fu­ture ca­reers.

YCA draws its name, as well as its spirit, from Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity’s first in­car­na­tion - Yench­ing Uni­ver­sity - founded in 1898. In the tu­mul­tuous years of the early 20th cen­tury, the uni­ver­sity at­tracted the bright­est minds in the coun­try, and has played a leading role in China’s in­tel­lec­tual, cul­tural and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ever since.

In his speech to YCA fresh­men, Zhu Shanlu, Chair­man of Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity Coun­cil, did not fail to point out that new­com­ers should prove them­selves wor­thy of this great her­itage. “Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity’s his­tory is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked with the his­tor­i­cal de­vel­op­ment and progress of the Chi­nese na­tion,” he said. “We hope they [the new Yench­ing Scholars] will join this long tra­di­tion and make new break­throughs while in Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity.”

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