2 May 2014
SOAS, University of London officially launched the SOAS China Institute (SCI), an expert resource for the wider world of academia, business, policy and media, promoting interdisciplinary, language-based understanding of China, earlier this week.
The launch, which took place on 28 April 2014 in the Brunei Building at SOAS, hosted the first of the new SOAS China Institute Lecture Series ‘China: The Landscape’, which facilitated a discussion on Chinese economic, political, social and cultural reality.
The SCI is led by Michel Hockx, Professor of Chinese and President of the British Association for Chinese Studies. At the event, he was joined by Director of SOAS Professor Paul Webley, as well as a panel of experts consisting of Rosemary Foot, Professor of International Relations from the University of Oxford, Stephen Lillie, Director for Asia Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, leading investment banker Simon Robey, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Opera House and Wenguang Shao, Managing Director of Phoenix Chinese News & Entertainment Limited.
In his opening speech, Professor Hockx talked of the importance of providing a platform where Chinese experts across government, arts organisations, media, NGOs, business and academia can work together to impact on important global conversations. The scholar said: “Today the largest community of Chinese scholars in Europe joins the global conversation with and about China… Big questions facing China are global questions – at SOAS we have some of the answers – and we know we can find some of the other answers with support and with partners.”
With nearly 50 experts specialising in a range of disciplines – from finance, politics, languages and culture, and being home to The China Quarterly – one of the most cited area studies journals on China in the world, Professor Hockx added: “SOAS is renowned for taking a critical view of the world and for looking outside of the traditional ruts that the China conversations inevitably find themselves in elsewhere, where they are focused on corruptions, ideological oppositions or economic development versus human rights.
“At SOAS academics are committed to finding these answers and transmitting them beyond the university walls… we are here to join the conversation and we hope to provide a platform where boundaries can be crossed and bridges can be built.”
Director of SOAS Professor Webley spoke of SOAS as a crucial resource for students from other institutions, all of who use the extensive Chinese library resources at SOAS. He said the move to consolidate SOAS expertise in China area studies was to “reclaim our world-leading position as a preeminent international centre for the study of China.”
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The 'China: The Landcape' lecture us now available to watch on YouTube - visit the SOAS China Institute's website for more information.