English professors gather for China conference

Updated: 2013-07-16 13:35


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More than 100 professors on English language and literature from around the world gathered in Tsinghua University for the International Association of University Professors of English (IAUPE) Triennial Conference on July 16.

These professors came from 70 universities of 20 countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and India. During the five days of the conference, the professors will give academic speeches and hold discussions on study and research of English language and literature in different sessions.

In her opening address, Professor Cao Li, director of European and American Literatures, Tsinghua University, and co-president of the IAUPE spoke highly of the connection between English Studies and Tsinghua University.

 "When I. A. Richards, followed by William Empson, came all the way from Cambridge, England to Tsinghua, China to teach English literature and practical criticism one century ago, he claimed himself as the link and ambassador between two cultures. All of us who are present today witnessing the opening of the IAUPE conference 2013 in Beijing are one link or another between different languages and cultures. "

In her welcoming speech at the ceremony, Jin Li, co-president of the IAUPE expressed the popularity of English in China and spoke highly of the role IAUPE played in China's study and research of English.

According to Jin, it is estimated that China has over 300 million English learners at present, and in Chinese high education, English language and literature is among the biggest and most important academic disciplines.

"Almost every Chinese university and college offers English as an academic program, and currently there are over 400,000 college students majoring in English," Jin, who is also the vice-president and an English professor with Beijing Foreign Studies University, said.

"English language is our window to the world. This triennial conference of the IAUPE is destined to be our door to better English teaching and research in China," she said.

Jewel Spears Brooker, chair of the International Committee of IAUPE expressed her gratitude to Tsinghua University and Beijing Foreign Studies University for making the occasion happen in China, and she also described her excitement for visiting China for the first time. She said that by Saturday they will have visited the Great Wall, but before that the participants of the conference will have very hopefully dismantled the walls of cultures and constructed bridges among them.

The association, founded in 1951 and has more than 500 professors mainly from European and American countries as its members, has held 21 triennial conferences. In July, 2010, Tsinghua University and Beijing Foreign Studies University jointly applied for the qualification of hosting the 22nd conference of 2013 in China, and the International Committee accepted the application.

It is the first time the conference has been held in China.

Cao Li, professor of English and director of European and American Literatures at Tsinghua University, chaired the opening ceremony.

Xie Weihe, vice-president of Tsinghua University attended the ceremony. At the ceremony, the famous Guqin player Jia-an Li played "Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank" and the Tsinghua University Faculty Choir sang two songs, "A Moonlit Night on the Spring River"(Chinese) , and "Italian Salad" which is a musical jest in the form of the Finale to an Italian Opera, an ensemble of music jargons and terms in Italian.