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