Jenn-Chuan Chern, CEO of the Tang Prize Foundation, along with foundation representatives, arrived in Hong Kong this past week (May 26) at the invitation of the Chinese Cultural Association of Hong Kong to deliver a lecture titled “The World-wide Tang Prize: A Proponent of Sustainability for the 21st Century.” In addition, the visit promoted interested in the recent recipient of the Tang Prize in Sinology.
Cultural exchange is a universally appreciated value, said CEO Chern, and intercultural dialogue is a very important part of that. The fact that we have so many conflicts and misunderstandings in today’s world comes, in part, from our lack of exchange and mutual understanding. “The Tang Prize,” he added, “is a stage for dialogue between Eastern and Western cultures,” and as such is working to solve that problem.
Before the lecture, the representatives showed a documentary on the 2016 recipient of the Tang Prize in Sinology, William Theodore de Bary, a man who himself stressed the importance of dialogue in his writings. Over his long career, de Bary headed the translation and compilation of the most central works of Chinese thought, while also producing many thought-provoking books of his own on culture, education, and dialogue. Many of the viewers of the documentary applauded the career of de Bary as well as the prize for recognizing his achievements.
The lecture was held by the Chinese Cultural Association of Hong Kong, the Tang Prize Foundation, New Asia Arts and Business College, and the Hong Kong Federation of Taiwan Universities Alumni Association. In attendance were heads ad directors of various institutions, including the New Asia Arts and Business College, the Hong Kong Federation of Taiwan Universities Alumni Association, the Chinese Cultural Association of Hong Kong, the NTU Alumni Association (Civil & Geology) in Hong Kong the New Asia Institute of Advanced Chinese Studies, and the Hong Kong Chung Shan Research Institute.
During their time in Hong Kong, the representatives visited Hong Kong’s own Shaw Prize as well as the head of New Asia College, Henry Wong. Pak-Chung Ching, a Shaw Prize Council member, welcomed the guests and lauded the prize for its establishment of a research grant, separate from the prize winnings, that must be destined to a project that furthers the field of the laureate. Discussion also touched on the primary work of a prize foundation: the selection process, making important connections with the laureates, and how to operate a foundation sustainably. Ching also applauded several of the Tang Prize’s operations, such as educational promotion, arranging speaking events for the laureates worldwide, and inviting previous laureates to act as awarders at the award ceremony. In parting, Ching invited guests from the Tang Prize to attend the Shaw Prize award ceremony that will take place this September.