CityUHK celebrates Marco Polo’s legacy in Western and Chinese history

MICHAEL GIBB, julian ng


Officiating guests at the launching ceremony of the exhibition include (from left) Professor Li Wen Jung, Vice-President (Talent and International Strategy) of CityUHK, Professor Ho, Professor Freddy Boey, President of CityUHK, Mr Rampini, Mr Carmelo Ficarra, Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong, Ms Alice Fratarcangeli, Director of Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong and Macau, and Ms Antonietta Cornacchia, Deputy Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong.

The life and legacy of famed Italian merchant and traveller Marco Polo is celebrated at City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong and Macau and the Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong. CityUHK is the only university in Hong Kong to host such an event about Marco Polo, reflecting its passion for cross-cultural collaboration, interdisciplinary studies, and working with friends in Italy on this remarkable story.

As part of the global celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary of the death of Marco Polo, CityUHK hosted a lecture titled “Marco Polo 700 years after” on 26 March by the renowned Italian writer Mr Federico Rampini; a photo exhibition entitled “Marco Polo and his footsteps” opened on the same day; and a cross-cultural study programme has been developed for secondary schools by scholars from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) at CityUHK.

“CityUHK values international exchange and multicultural understanding, and we greatly appreciate the support of both the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong and Macau and the Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong in co-organsing this event,” said Professor Alfred Ho Tat-kei, Dean of CLASS at CityUHK.

The anniversary also allowed the CityUHK community to explore Marco Polo’s legacy from several social science perspectives. Scholars from various departments, including the Department of Chinese and History (CAH), the Department of Public and International Affairs (PIA) and the Department of English (EN), will share their thoughts on Marco Polo with a focus on history, international diplomacy, and travel writing focused on China-West relations, urban narratives and cosmopolitanism, respectively.

The photo exhibition titled “Marco Polo and His Footprints”, produced by the Italian news agency ANSA, opened on 26 March, offering visitors an immersion in Marco Polo's journey with an emphasis on his extraordinary exploration experience, the places visited and the cultural impact of his trip on modern history.

(From left) Ms Fratarcangeli, President Boey and Mr Rampini
The exhibition is held at CityUHK between 26 March and 14 April.

Following the exhibition's opening, Mr Rampini delivered a lecture on how an Italian merchant and traveller from Venice shaped the vision of China in his time and beyond. The writer addressed the image of China through time, the importance of the original Silk Road and its economic and cultural impact on the Western world, and the China narrative in Europe after Marco Polo’s travels.

In keeping with CityUHK’s commitment to reaching out to the local community, a number of schools were invited to the lecture and exhibition, and an additional programme designed for secondary schools to be combined with the visit to the exhibition includes three talks.

They are "Shells and Ships: Some Things Only Known to Marco Polo” by Professor Yang Bin of CAH on Marco Polo’s travel history and controversies; “Marco Polo and Imaginary Cities” by Professor Jason Harding, Head of EN, on how Marco Polo’s Il Milione served as the inspiration for Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities; and “Marco Polo's Adventures in Southeast Asia” by Professor Diego Fossati of PIA on lesser-known aspects related to the cross-cultural and diplomatic aspects of Marco Polo's expedition.


Contact Information

Communications and Institutional Research Office

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