On the morning of December 12, 2016, a Harvard University delegation led by Prof. Mark C. Elliott, Vice President of Harvard University, and Prof. Michael A Szonyi, Director of Fairbank Center for China Studies, paid a visit to Sichuan University. President and Academician Xie Heping met with the guests. Vice President Yan Shijing and the leaders of related departments and colleges of SCU attended the meeting.
During the meeting, President Xie pointed out the solid cooperation foundation between SCU and Harvard University, hoping that the establishment of Research Center for the Study of West China at Sichuan University for doing Collaborative Research with the J. K. Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University can enable the experts of both universities to jointly carry out higher-level western China studies, and facilitate the two universities to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in other disciplinary research fields.
Prof. Mark C. Elliott, Vice President of Harvard University, firstly congratulated the SCU on its 120th anniversary. Then he indicated that, as one of the first-class universities of China, Sichuan University, with a long and unique history, plays a significant role in China’s higher education; the history and culture of southwest China is an indispensable part of the entire country, and is worthy of in-depth study; Fairbank Center for China Studies at Harvard University has confidence in promoting, together with the faculties and students of SCU, the studies of western China as to history, archaeology, religion, art, literature and so on; Harvard University always cherishes the opportunities of free exchanges with the institutions of higher learning worldwide. And he believed that the conclusion of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two universities can bring a win-win result; meanwhile, he wishes the newly established Research Center can achieve substantial fruits, and initiate a good model for Sino-US academic programs through the joint efforts made by the teachers and students of both sides.
After briefly looking back at the historical origin between Harvard University and Fairbank Center with Chengdu, Prof. Michael A. Szonyi, Director of Fairbank Center for China Studies, expressed that, since Fairbank Center for China Studies came into existence in 1956, the Center has seen closer cooperation with its Chinese counterparts, broader coverage of research topics and more advanced technical means adopted, and he is looking forward to a complete success of the cooperative programs.
Subsequently, Prof. Michael A. Szonyi and Li Yingfu, Vice Dean of the SCU’s School of History & Culture signed the MOU on Cooperation on behalf of respective sides. President Xie Heping and Vice President Elliot jointly unveiled the plaque of Research Center for the Study of West China at Sichuan University for doing Collaborative Research with the J. K. Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.
The delegation of Harvard University plans to launch several activities in SCU, such as a meet-and-greet event between teachers and students, forums, and a series of academic lectures, etc.
Fairbank Center for China Studies, Harvard University, a world-renowned research institute dedicated to the study of East Asia, was founded by Prof. John King Fairbank (1907-1991) in 1955. Having pooled a large number of first-rate scholars in Chinese studies, it is a pioneer and a key center in overseas studies of China. In a bid to accelerate the implementation of collaborative programs on the study of western China of the two universities, the Harvard University, via Fairbank Center for China Studies, and the SCU, via the Research Center for the Study of West China, have established jointly the Research Center for the Study of West China at Sichuan University for doing Collaborative Research with the J. K. Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. The ResearchCenter will coordinate the collaborative research projects and other academic activities carried out by both parties, and boost the two Universities to conduct more exchanges of scholars and students in the domain of the study of west China’s humanities and social sciences.