From Oct. 23rd to 27th, the Kuo Ping Wen Symposium with the theme of ??n Service to Education: The Life and Times of Kuo Ping Wen, China?? First Global Educator??as convened on the campus of Teachers College (TC), Columbia University. The symposium, which was organized by Columbia University, East Aisan Library and China Institute, marked the centennial of Dr. Kuo Ping Wen receiving his Ph.D. from Teachers College of Columbia University. Scholars and Educators from Southeast University, Xiamen University, Beijing Normal University, East China Normal University, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, National Institute of Education Sciences, National Taiwan Central University, and National Taiwan Normal University in China and from Columbia University, Harvard University, College of Wooster, Northwestern University, East Aisan Library, and China Institue in America and Kuo's descendents gathered together to celebrate the great legacy of Kuo?? work and contribution to education and US-China diplomacy.
In the symposium, Professor Yu Wei from Southeast University and Professor Henry Levin from Columbia University made opening remarks. And the professors and scholars conducted panel discussions on the topics of ??racing the Development of Teaching Methodology in Chinese Education: 1903 to Present Day?? "The Reciprocal Influence of Chinese and Western Educational Philosophies?? and ??ho Will Be the Next Kuo Ping Wen? Legacies from Kuo Ping Wen to Current Chinese and American Education and Their Students??
Bo Liu, Vice President of Southeast University made a keynote speech as a special guest in which she shared Kuo Ping Wen?? leadership at Nanking Higher Normal School and National Southeast University from 1915 to 1925. He introduced the American university model, eliminated the drawbacks of traditional Chinese education, and created a localized higher education model which facilitated the development of Chinese higher education. Kuo Ping Wen?? success was attributed to his advanced education reform ideas. The essence of his ideas are summarized in his ??our Combinations?? which included the combination of internationalization and localization, bottom-up and top-down approaches, modernization and tradition, and innovation and learning. His wisdom and courage along with with his nuanced perspectives on higher education continue to influence and enlighten contemporary China.
Kuo was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. He went to America for study in 1908, and received his Ph.D. Degree from Columbia University in 1914. In 1914 Kuo returned to China where he transformed the Nanjing Higher Normal School into the first modern co-educational Chinese University, National Southeastern University, and his ideas exerted a broad influence in Chinese educational circles. He was the president of National Nanjing Higher Normal School from 1919-1923 and National Southeastern University from 1921-1925. Kuo Ping-wen was elected three times as Vice-Chairman of the World Education Congress and became the Chairman of its Asian division in 1923. His removal from his presidential post at National Southeastern University in 1925 was a result of the intrusion of political forces into higher education and academia during the turbulent decade of the 1920s in China.
In the afternoon of Oct.25th, Yu Wei and Bo Liu also conducted a reunion forum on the campus of Columbia University together with more than 30 alumni in New York, America.