Faculty, Student, and Alumni News

CI-PITT honored as 2015 Confucius Institute of the Year

CI-PITT was one of only 20 to receive this honor of the 500 institutes located in 134 countries, and has won more awards than any other CI worldwide. CI-PITT was previously honored as CI of the Year in 2008, 2010, and 2013. 
This June, Madam Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, visited the Confucius Institute at University of Pittsburgh, where she highly appreciated the institute's achievements in teaching and used the English expression "Only One" to describe its excellence.

November 14-21: Pitt Celebrates International Week with international activities, global events, and a contest!

For one week - November 14 to 21 - Pitt campus will be alive with international activities, global events and the buzz of the International Week Contest. At universities and colleges across the United States for one week every year, students celebrate and experience the benefits of international education and exchange.  Pitt actively participates in this joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. International Education Week is just one of the many ways that Pitt prepares students to become global citizens empowered with international knowledge, skills and experiences. Attend events across campus under the themes of Cultural Awareness, Global Classroom, Global Leadership, and International Experience in order to increase your understanding of how Pitt can help you find your place in a global world, and to enter a contest to win a summer study abroad opportunity! Visit http://www.internationalweek.pitt.edu/ to learn more.

Inaugural William Stanton Prize Awarded to Zhibin Yao for History honors thesis

Graduating History honors major and Asian Studies Certificate student Mr. Zhibin Yao has been chosen by the History Department of the University of Pittsburgh as the inaugural recipient of the William Stanton Prize for the best honors thesis in History written in the 2014-2015 academic year.
In "From Filial Son to Silent Protestor: A Case Study of the Evolving Role of a Han Literatus in 17th-20th Century China," the honors thesis advised by Professor Evelyn Rawski (now emerita), Zhibin Yao displays a masterful grasp of the oeuvre of Chinese literatus Yang Bin, taking his readers on a journey through the life of an educated scholar whose path to fame suffered because of the political sins of his forbears. Based on in-depth original research in multiple languages, the thesis shows equal skill in its analytical and interpretive achievements. 
The Stanton Prize has been generously established by Pitt alumnus Mr. David Frederick in honor of his mentor William Ragan Stanton, an esteemed American historian who taught in Pitt’s History department from 1962 until 1994.

In Memoriam: Edward Mason Anthony Jr.

Professor emeritus of linguistics Edward Anthony was an extraordinary individual. According to his son Ted Anthony, he believed that by teaching people to communicate, he could help stop wars. More than that he taught perspicacity, patience, and kindness. Professor Anthony’s arrival in 1964 at Pitt was a game-changing event for the university, said Alan Juffs current chairman of the school’s linguistics department. While at Pitt, professor Anthony founded the Less Commonly-Taught Languages Center, the English Language Institute, and served as director of the Asian Studies Center in 1976. He brought uncounted Japanese executives to Pittsburgh to learn English, play softball and go to Pirates games, said his son Ted. In 1979, he was in the first group of Pitt “foreign experts” to teach in Beijing after President Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping normalized diplomatic relationships. He will fondly be remembered as an educator, an adventurer, and a pioneer of linguistics.

Linda Gallery in Bejing opens "The Lonely Horizon: Gao Minglu during the 1970s" exhibit

On Tuesday, June 16, Linda Gallery in the 798 arts district of Beijing held the opening for the exhibition “The Lonely Horizon: Gao Minglu during the 1970s.” The exhibition includes almost 120 drawings and paintings from his time as a sent-down youth in Inner-Mongolia, his time as a student and teacher at Ulanqab Normal Academy in Uangab City (Jining as it’s old name), and his travels before beginning his graduate education at China Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in early 1980s. It also includes important archival documents such as pages from his notebooks and photographs of him as a young herdsman, teacher, and scholar. The works include lively sketches, watercolor studies, and oil paintings of Mongolians, villagers, Tibetans, his students and friends as well as landscapes and city scenes along the Yellow River, Yangzi River, Shanghai and other places. Primarily done in a Russian Realist style, these works not only reveal much about Professor Gao’s personal biography, but also about the popular art trends just after the Cultural Revolution.  Also on display will be the documentary ’85 New Waves, made by former CCTV director Li Shaowu and Professor Gao. This documentary chronicles the ’85 movement in China, a pivotal period in contemporary Chinese art, largely remembered thanks to Professor Gao’s support and documentation of its participants and their projects. The opening was packed with Professor Gao’s students from different periods (1970s to the present) in China and abroad, closest family and friends, important contemporary artists including the ’85 generation, such as Song Yongping, Wang Guangyi, Xu Bing, Ren Jian, and important curators and critics such as Fan Di’an, the current president of CAFA. The United States Ambassador to China, Max Baucus, and his wife also attended, receiving a personal tour by Professor Gao himself. The Ambassador shared the same interest and experience with a herdsman’s life on the grassland because he grew up in Montana. The exhibition will be on display until July 20, 2015.

Dr. Patricia E. Beeson, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Nicole Constable, Director of Asian Studies Center visit

Dr. Patricia E. Beeson, the Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor (right), and Dr. Nicole Constable, the Director of Asian Studies Center(left), both from University of Pittsburgh, paid a courtesy call to Hiroko Tsuka, the Executive Vice President of the Japan Foundation (center). They exchanged information and their views on the Japanese Studies in the U.S.

James Hommes, Pitt Alumnus, awarded Toshiba International Foundation 2015 Outstanding Prize

James Hommes, Ph.D. graduate of History, was one of the winners of the Toshiba International Foundation annual essay contest. This year’s subject was “The message that Japan should send out to the world in 2020.”  Essayists were asked to consider what Japan needs to reform, what it should preserve as a country, and what does the world expect of Japan. To qualify for entry, young researchers must be engaged in Japanese studies and be enrolled or have completed a doctoral program. The goal of the contest is to promote Japanese studies overseas. The winners will be invited to receive their awards at a ceremony in Tokyo this spring.

In Memoriam: Chiao-Min Hsieh

A generous donation was given to the Asian Studies Center by the Hsieh family in memory of emeritus professor of Geology and Planetary Science at the University of Pittsburgh, Professor Chiao-Min Hsieh.

Dr. Hsieh joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 1969 and taught geography courses for 23 years.  His academic research focused on East Asia, and he authored numerous publications including China Ageless Land and Countless PeopleChanging China: a Geographic Appraisal, and his last book Race the Rising Sun: A Chinese University's Exodus during the Second World War, which he co-wrote with his wife, Jean Kan Hsieh, an accomplished poet of Chinese classical poetry. Dr. Hsieh was awarded a Fulbright Research Professorship three times and was a senior fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He had a passion for creating atlases focusing on the natural, cultural, political, and historical features of China. Throughout his life, Dr. Hsieh was a true scholar spending much time in the Hillman Library and eventually donating nearly 60 years of his diaries to their collection. A memorial fund has been established in his honor to fund faculty research and travel to Asia.

Thomas G. Rawski and James Cook recognized for outstanding contributions to China studies

Professor Thomas G. Rawski (Economics) and James Cook, Associate Director for the Asian Studies Center, have been recognized for their contributions in the field of China studies. Professor Rawski has been named by the China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) as one of America’s “Top 20” China Experts.  CFAU is the leading diplomatic school in China, and it ranks American China experts based upon a complex metric that assesses knowledge and their “ability to present a reasonable and accurate picture” of China and Chinese-American relations.  The report naming Professor Rawski stressed the deep understanding of the People’s Republic that all finalists displayed through their own first-hand research in China.

Professor Cook was named by the China’s Ministry of Education as a “Distinguished Overseas Educator”.  Nominated by Shaanxi Normal University, Dr. Cook has completed several grants sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the China Medical Board in cooperation with the Center for Historical Environment and Socioeconomics Development of Northwest China and the Center for Experimental Economics in Education at Shaanxi Normal.  His work brings Chinese and American researchers together to solve critical environmental and public health issues in northwestern China.

In Memoriam: Dr. Albert Van Dusen

Dr. Van Dusen was an extraordinary leader at the University of Pittsburgh for nearly three decades. He traveled the globe establishing international partnerships in program development and exchange opportunities. Around 1970, Dr. Van Dusen, then Secretary of the Board of Trustees, ventured to Japan along with the Director of Asian Studies to appeal for the program. Through his remarkable advocacy, he was able to secure program development funds from C. Itoh and then $1 million each from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation and the Mitsubishi group, thereby creating the enduring Japanese studies endowment funds at the University of Pittsburgh. In the 1980s, he embarked on a grand sweep of Asia fostering relationships with universities in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea.  The Asian Studies Center continues to thrive and grow due to the seeds of support he generously cultivated in many parts of Asia. He will fondly be remembered as a gentleman of exceptional kindness, wisdom, a role model for hard work, and a great sense of humor.