Study of world civilisations put under microscope

Shirley Pang

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More than a dozen distinguished scholars from Europe, North America and Hong Kong specialising in the evolution of civilisations were at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) from 20 to 22 June to share their views on the teaching of their subject area.


At the International Conference on Teaching and Learning of World Civilisations hosted by the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics (CTL), the assembled experts explored ways of presenting world civilisations as a CityU General Education course.


CityU has taken the initiative to cultivate students’ knowledge of the world and its cultural traditions by developing General Education courses in historical civilisations. Renowned scholars attended the conference to plan the curriculum.

“We live in an age of globalisation. The knowledge of cultures and traditions other than our own is crucial for understanding the globalised world and for our student’s future success,” said Professor Way Kuo, President of CityU, at the conference’s opening ceremony.


“Hosting distinguished scholars from overseas and discussing academic issues at CityU is a very important part of establishing ties with intellectual communities from different parts of the world. Let us value such relationships and hope to enjoy mutual benefits from our contact and conversations.” Professor Kuo added.


The curriculum will emphasise the evolution of civilisations, their historical interaction and influences on modern society. Professor Zhang Longxi, Chair Professor of CTL, said “We have been striving to initiate and organise conferences in recent years and are excited to see this goal accomplished. The valuable expert insights will play a significant role in the development of the curriculum framework.”


The conference participants were world-renowned history experts, including academics from University of California, Los Angeles, Rice University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Toronto, Stockholm University and others.


Topics presented at the conference included Chinese civilisation in a globalised context; globalisation of the Yijing; and Jewish civilisations as part of western culture in a Chinese context. The speakers examined ways of understanding the world through civilisations of the East and West, the challenge of striking a balance in teaching world civilisations and the practice of reviewing world civilisations in modern history.


The conference was funded by the Drs Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Charitable Foundation. This was the third in a series of international conferences devised to explore methods of teaching world civilisations.


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