Peking University Starts its Overseas Celebration for 120th Anniversary Featuring Academic Symposium
Peking University, the leading institution of higher education in China, marks its 120th anniversary this year with a series of celebrations highlighting its rich history and abundant achievements. The anniversary began on March 23 with festivities on its first offshore campus in Oxfordshire, England and will close on March 25. Events feature an academic symposium, inauguration ceremony of the UK Campus, and the inauguration of the Peking University Alumni Finance Association London.
Overseas Celebration of PKU's 120th Anniversary
Founded in 1898, Peking University has been a leading institution of higher education in China since its establishment. According to Times Higher Education, Peking University ranked 27th in the 2018 world university rankings. Last year, the university took a bold step to invest in a new campus in the UK. As the initiator of this overseas campus, Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS) in Shenzhen, China is responsible for the main administration duties of the UK Campus.
The academic symposium is the highlight of PKU’s 120th anniversary celebratory events and a significant platform for Sino-British academic exchange. The schedule includes Nobel Laureates Thomas Sargent and Sir John Gurdon’s lectures, and four sub-forums focusing on topics such as international relations, finance and economics, and humanities and history, as well as science and technology.
PHBS Dean Wen Hai chairs morning symposium
PKU Vice President Bo Wang delivered the opening remarks
Kicking off the celebratory events, Vice President of Peking University Bo Wang delivered the opening remarks. He looked back over the university’s long history and remarkable achievements, maintaining that PKU should honor its traditions, enhance academics, and stimulate innovation. “In an era of change, it’s difficult to draw a clear line between changes and invariables. No university can be sure to find an absolutely right direction.” Therefore, he held that cooperation and exchanges are essential among academics worldwide. And so, the 120th anniversary celebration commenced with an academic symposium featuring internationally renowned scholars discussing the important issues of our times and their impact on defining the future.
Minister Counsellor Wang delivered a welcome address
Yongli Wang, minister counsellor for education, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the U.K, also offered welcoming remarks. He spoke highly of Peking University’s achievements and dedication over the past century and pointed out the significance of the UK campus in facilitating Sino-British education exchanges and cooperation. “The opening of the UK campus pays tribute to the China-UK ‘golden age.’ And I hope the success of this symposium and the inauguration of the UK campus can add momentum to this bilateral tie.”
In the first-day symposium, keynote speeches focused on several topics including fiscal policy, international relations and multilateralism, offering varying perspectives on understanding the complex Chinese economy and multinational relations.
Nobel Laureate Thomas Sargent shares his insights about government debts
In his speech Why Should Governments Pay Their Debts? Thomas Sargent, 2011 Nobel Laureate in economics, shared a thorough analysis on alarming debt problems confronting governments following the two world wars. Commenting on US post-war scenarios, Professor Sargent argued that the government’s ability to pay debts coincides with its power to tax; one of the good reasons to pay debts is that governments might want to borrow again. He further discussed three questions: should the central government pay the debts; should the central government bail out the subordinate governments; and should the subordinate governments pay the debts caused by the central government. Professor Sargent concluded that there are thorny issues regarding how government should refinance debts to smooth out payments, and how to draw lines between foreign credit and lending. In the Q&A session, he addressed questions concerning China’s debt problems and U.S. President Trump’s Chinese tariff announcement.
PHBS Professor Gang Fan chairs the Nobel laureate lecture
Ming Yuan, professor of international politics, dean of Yenching Academy of Peking University
The first sub-forum themed “International Relations in the New Era” was held in the afternoon. The invited speakers included Ming Yuan, professor of international politics, dean of Yenching Academy of Peking University; and Paul Crookes of School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies of Oxford University. Professor Yuan elaborated on our identity and multilateralism in the midst of the ever-changing international landscape, while Professor Crookes' talk focused on the relations among the U.K., European Union and China after Brexit.
Zhihong Xu, former president of Peking University, provided remarks
Zhihong Xu, former president of Peking University, provided remarks on the evening concert. Former president Xu spoke the history of Peking University, the development of PHBS and the establishment of the U.K.campus. He hoped that the first offshore campus can further strengthen PKU and PHBS’ internationalization.
MS. Debbie Dance, Director of Oxford Preservation Trust, provided remarks
Performances by PKU students featured choruses, a solo dance, and a guzheng (traditional Chinese string instrument) and piano concerto. The vibrant performances by talented students demonstrate PKUers’ earnest love towards our motherland and life, as well as their courage to chase dreams.
Renowned Artist Dong Xing donated his oil painting to the U.K. Campus
The inauguration ceremony of PKU’s UK campus will be held on March 25. The UK campus began operations this spring and mainly serves students from the UK and Europe. Students spend their first year on the UK Campus and their second year on Shenzhen campus. Additionally, all students enrolled in the Shenzhen program can apply to spend one semester studying at the UK campus.