From the Director: Welcome to The Beijing Center!
The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (TBC) provides a unique environment for students from all over the world to begin their engagement with China. Our mission is to promote mutual understanding between China and other cultures. What makes us unique is our placement in a long and storied tradition of Jesuit education; one that teaches us that true cultural engagement starts first with friendship.
Matteo Ricci came to Beijing in 1601. Like TBC students today, he and his companions studied the Chinese language and culture and used that knowledge to engage in the academic life of the day. Like our students today, these people were great adventurers and showed great courage, humility and respect for what they found here.
Ricci found a particularly close friendship with Xu Guanqi, who taught him the Chinese way of life. In turn, Ricci shared his knowledge of the West. We seek to follow in these footsteps as we provide students with the supportive environment to start their own adventures in China.
We do that by providing an academic experience that is unparalleled anywhere else. At the Beijing Center, we make China the classroom. For example, our two-week excursions challenge and inspire our students with new ideas and experiences, bringing them face-to-face with the daily reality of this immense country. Students here have a chance to see, study and travel like few others have.
Our professors know China in depth and push our students to see all the complexities of this place, from economics to language. These kinds of experiences change and challenge the way you think about China, and in turn change your life.
My passion for the Beijing Center comes from my own experience as a student, when I started my great adventure here. I was one of the first students who attended The Beijing Center when it opened in 1998. At the time I was just beginning my journey in China. At TBC I studied the Chinese language and culture and really began to fall in love with this complex and ancient peoples and their places. TBC led me to doctoral studies at Peking University, my life as a professor in China, and now back here to be director.
While each student journey is different, what we hope to achieve at the Beijing Center is the same today as it was when I was a student here.
The friendship and growth I found at the Beijing Center really formed the foundation for my life in China. My goal now is to help introduce others to this country that I’ve made my home.
The Beijing Center was a tremendous stepping-stone for my future. I believe it can be the same for yours. Welcome!
Thierry Meynard, SJ, began his term as the third director of The Beijing Center in August 2012. A former professor at Fordham University, he holds a Ph.D. in Chinese Philosophy from Peking University and currently teaches at Sun Yat-sen University.