Seen as one of the most important meetings for Chinese-American scholars and experts over a wide variety of fields, the Chinese American Academic & Professional Society (CAAPS) this year celebrates its 40th anniversary and holds its 40th annual convention in New York on August 14-15. Along with the pomp and circumstance of the anniversary convention, this year marks another special event. CAAPS will present the Chinese historian and thinker Yu Ying-Shih, the recent recipient of the inaugural Tang Prize in Sinology, with the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.
A respected professor in universities around the world, Yu has plied himself to the study of Chinese history and thought, politics, and culture for over 50 years. His work in this at once broad and deep field earned him the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity in 2006, and he is the only ethnic Chinese scholar to have won the award thus far; in 2014 he was the first recipient of the Tang Prize in Sinology. As this century’s leading scholar recognized in both the East and the West for his understanding of Chinese history, Yu is not just himself a fresh and invigorating thinker in the field, his academic ethos which he borrowed from the great historian Sima Qian, “Studying the universal and the human to comprehend change from past to present,” has encouraged countless others to apply new methods and varied perspectives to the field of Chinese history.
Yu’s years of intense study into the transformations of thought over the ages brought him academic recognition across disciplines, and in 2014 his contributions earned him the Tang Prize in Sinology.Even after such accolades, Yu stayed true to his role as gentleman scholar, in the traditional Chinese sense of the phrase, by using the Tang Prize Grant to establish the Yu Ying-shih Fellowship for the Humanities. The scholarship program will use the 10 million NTD grant (approx. 310,000 USD) to help young students fund their studies in the humanities. This consideration for the younger generation reflects the essential values of the prize and the significance of Sinology to education and character. Yu’s high admiration for the Tang Prize will be demonstrated at this year’s CAAPS annual convention, as he has donated his Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award to the Tang Prize Foundation. Foundation CEO Jenn-Chuan Chern, also attending the 40th CAAPS, will receive the award on behalf of Yu and the Foundation.