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Expanding the Frontier of Cross-strait Academic Exchanges—
NTU Faculty and Students Went to Peking University to Launch “NTU DAY”

In order to become one of the top universities in the world, National Taiwan University actively pursues academic excellence, and places great emphasis on international co-operation and exchange, seizing upon any opportunities for deepening internationalization. Recently, Peking University invited our School to hold the “NTU DAY ” on their campus.

Since this is a great opportunity for academic cooperation and development, our school decided to accept the invitation. So, on December 20th, President Si-chen Lee and our faculty and students formed a representative team, went to Peking University and launched “NTU DAY ”

The “University Day” is an important format for Peking University to develop exchanges with its sister schools. In recent years Peking University has successfully launched “University Days” with world renowned universities such as Oxford, Yale, and Sydney University, reaping great benefits for all concerned. National Taiwan University has always occupied an important position in higher education for the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. So, in recognition thereof, and to strengthen intercollegiate exchange and to enhance academic cooperation, Peking University invited us over to launch the “NTU DAY .”

Our process toward internationalization has been very active and stable, and we spare no efforts in promoting cross-strait academic developments. Peking University’s invitation not only spells an opportunity to deepen academic cooperation, talent cultivation and cultural exchange, but also allows the higher education units and students in China to have a deeper knowledge and understanding of National Taiwan University. As the invitation is an unique opportunity, we decided to form a faculty/student team that spans across administrative and academic units and disciplines. Led by President Lee, this team was ready to demonstrate the strengths of our university and to expand our influence.

The activities of “NTU DAY ” included: a speech given by President Lee, the inauguration of our University’s liaison office in Peking University, exchange between the administrative and academic units of both schools, and student forums and artistic exhibitions and performances. For next year (2011), Peking University will pay a return visit to our university and hold the “Peking University Day”. We hope that by such a format we can open up a new partnership and dialogue mode, expand the frontiers of cross-strait academic exchanges, and create a new pattern for global higher education.

Using “Multi-cultural time and space encounters between Taiwan University and Peking University” as its topic, President Lee’s speech was the prelude to a series of cross-strait exchanges. From the perspectives of time and space, President Lee looked back at the three instances that Taiwan University and Peking University had crossed paths in the past. The first instance happened between 1895-1899, when the first Sino-Japanese war erupted. Because the Ching dynasty of China lost the war, so Taiwan and Penghu were ceded to Japan, so higher education on both sides of the Taiwan Strait budded separately and flourished on it’s own. For example, in December of 1898 the Imperial University of Peking first offered courses to its students, and the Imperial University was the predecessor of Peking University. Likewise, in 1989, the Medical College of the Taiwan Governor’s Office was inaugurated, and the Medial College was also the predecessor to the College of Medicine of National Taiwan University. The second instance of time and space encounter happened between 1945 and 1970. On November 15th, 1945 The Taihoku Imperial University was renamed the National Taipei University, then subsequently named “The National Taiwan University” by the Executive Yuan of the Government of the Republic of China. During this period many scholars crossed the sea to Taiwan, including mainland Chinese and home-returning Taiwanese natives. These scholars turned a Japanese-speaking Taihoku Imperial University into a mandarin-speaking National Taiwan University and became the torch bearers for the passing down of a Chinese legacy. But, then, a period of cross-strait isolation (1950-1989) ensued. To avoid the predicament of brain drain and the interruption of academic research, Mr. Ssu-Nien Fu, the President of NTU at that time had to rely upon autonomous teacher training or sending students to study abroad. The talents cultivated during this era are too many to enumerate, including those in the educational circles (Yuan-Tseh Lee, Chang-lin Tien, and Henry T. Yang, etc) humanity and arts (Kenneth Pai, Man-Fei Lo), industry (Chen-Fu Koo, Barry Lam, K. Y. Lee, etc) All these people are NTU alumni and their outstanding achievements in their respective fields made NTU proud to be their alma mater.

The third instance of time and space encounter was silhouetted against a background of increasingly frequent cross-strait relationships. In 1989 our Former President Dr. Chen Sun attended the APRU (Association of Pacific Rim Universities) Conference in San Francisco and met with Professor Shisun Ding, the then President of Peking University. The two of them agreed to initiate exchanges between the two schools, but their initiatives were met with all kinds of changes and difficulties during the carrying-out process. It was not until 1995 that our next President Dr. Wei-Chao Chen went to Peking University and signed the Memorandum for Exchange that the two universities embarked upon free exchange of faculty and academics. In 2005, the two universities agreed to exchange students.  In October of 2010, the two universities signed the “Memorandum for Strategic Alliance between Peking University and National Taiwan University” and the “Memorandum for Dual Degree Programs co-installed by Peking University and National Taiwan University”, which spelled the concrete details of dual degree approach, interactive teaching, department head and dean meetings. It is expected that the signing of these memorandums will broaden the international perspectives of the students of both schools, and strengthen all around exchanges and co-operation. At the end of his speech, President Si-Chen Lee quoted the famous saying by Mr. Ssu-Nien Fu, our ex-President: “exercising the spirit of consecrating this university to the universe” to elucidate his ideas of running National Taiwan University. He hopes that both universities shall actively pursue truth, and that the spirit of fostering excellent talents to serve the universe and our community will remain unchanged.

After President Lee’s speech, various heads of NTU administration, including Dean of Academic Affairs Dr.Been Huang Chiang, Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Yen Feng, Director of International Affairs Dr. Tung Shen, and Director of the Office olf R&D Dr. Ji-Wang Chern took the podium and shared the NTU experience. Then, president Si-Chen Lee and President Qi-Feng Zhou co-officiated the opening ceremony for the liaison office of NTU in Peking University, hoping that this liaison office can implement and promote the goals of academic, artistic, and cultural exchanges between the two universities. In the afternoon President Lee was interviewed by students of Peking University, in which President Lee answered questions in his usual warm and humorous manner, and encouraged students to actively cultivate “creativity” as a means to enhance competitiveness.

In addition, our faculty members went to the various departments and colleges of Peking University to conduct academic exchanges, with a view toward laying a foundation for future cooperation between the two universities. And the student associations of the two universities also had their share of the exchange pie. Using “green campus” as the theme, the student associations held a student forum. Finally, as the day drew to an end, the night became increasingly charming, and “NTU DAY ” successfully concluded among the beautiful singing, the elegant dancing, and the funny, amazing magic and puppet theater performances of students from both universities.

The multi-faceted activities between the two universities not only laid a solid foundation for “quality” and “quantity” cooperation. But also became a paradigm of full front cross-strait exchanges. Now we have more reasons to expect the “Peking University Day” which will be held during the Azalea Festival of Taiwan University. Major breakthroughs in the cooperation and exchanges between the two schools can be counted upon!

Chinese version