COM’s Young Mainland Scholars Enjoy Once-in-a-Lifetime Cultural Experience in Dunhuang…

For the first time, Young Mainland Scholars took its annual (this year, sixth) forum to the interior city of Lanzhou, provincial capital of Gansu, and Dunhuang, the repository of world-renowned caves of Buddhist paintings, sculpture and literature.   The forum lasted from 16 to 20 July 2013.


The form was inaugurated on the campus of Lanzhou University.  More than 40 scholars—who are the “alumni” of COM’s Young Scholars Program–came from all over China to have a dialogue with one another as well as with local scholars and students.  These participants were treated to moving presentations on the history of the Silk Road and Dunhuang arts, both of which were symbols of the most significant intercultural communication in the medieval era.  The speakers included Prof. Zheng Binglin, an authority on the Dunhuang studies, and Prof. Chang Jiahuang, an artist in his own right who also manages a modern cave to realize the dream of his father, Prof. Chang Shuhong, generally credited as the guardian angel of Dunhuang treasures.  


At the forum, Prof. Jan Servaes, Head of COM, lectured on studies in communication and sustainable social change, whereas Prof. Lee Chin-Chuan expressed his views on how to foster a meaningful dialogue between local experiences and global theories.  Young scholars from Peking University, Renmin University, Nanjing University, and Youth Political College of China were invited to speak on various topics related to media, culture, and cultural industries.  Scholars from Lanzhou University organized a session to report on their “local” studies that uniquely focused on issues of multiethnic and multicultural communication in the Norwest region of China.  Dr. Shen Fei served as a commentator.


In the wake of the Lanzhou forum, the participants traveled on a bus, passing through the Gobi desert amidst dots of oasis towns along the Silk Road, reminiscent of the main artery of East-West communication in the Tang Dynasty at the peak of China’s cultural glory.  When in Dunhuang, in the afternoon of 19 July, they were invited to visit the modern cave being developed by Prof. Chang.  The next morning they were again made honored guests at a symposium hosted by Prof. Chang.  Many young scholars made remarks at the symposium to commend Prof. Chang’s dedication and perseverance in the furtherance of Dunhuang arts.  


The trip reached a climax when the participants visited the Dunhuang caves that have had a history of 1,600 years.  As a good will from the Director of the Dunhuang Academy, the participants were treated to special caves that are off limits to regular visitors.  All participants expressed in awe that this is once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience.  They are already looking forward to future forums, to be held in Mongolia and Chengdu in the next two years.


Young scholars from across China came to Lanzhou University. Professor Lee Chin-Chuan spoke at the symposium held in our honor.