Home       Sitemap      About Us      简体中文
Home» News» News» Campus» The 2014-2015 Annual Conference of FACES closes at Peking University

The 2014-2015 Annual Conference of FACES closes at Peking University

Peking University, April 9th, 2015: A stroll around Peking University’s iconic Weiming Lake with the spring breeze touching your cheeks is always a pleasant experience. Flocks of birds start nesting in trees only just woken up from their winter hibernation, and they seem to enjoy the crafts of nature as well.

Hardly did they know that, just beneath them, one of the most significant American/Chinese exchange programs at Peking University was going on.

The Stanford Centre, like all other buildings around it, dons itself with the traditional Chinese red eaves and green tiles. Somewhat like an iceberg, its underground structure is massive and modern. In the past six days, some of the best students in America and China who are intrigued by the U.S.-China relationship gathered at Stanford Centre to take part in the China leg of the 2014-2015 Annual Conference of the Forum for American/Chinese Exchanges at Stanford (FACES).

FACES is an organization which dedicates itself to promote dialogue and foster long-lasting relationships among future leaders in U.S.-China affairs. Founded by Jessica Chen Weiss, now an assistant professor of Political Science at Yale University, FACES believes that by promoting mutual understanding among future leaders in U.S.-China affairs, our bilateral relationship can be enhanced. With this in mind, FACES has been bringing together students from both shores of the Pacific Ocean annually since 2001. At previous conferences, many eminent guests such as former US President George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi spoke to our delegates.

The FACES conference consists of two legs: one at Stanford University in October 2014 and the other at Peking University from March 24th to March 29th, 2015. After a highly successful conference at Stanford, FACES has taken the same group of delegates to the Chinese capital to experience life in a drastically different country.

During a highly-packed schedule, FACES delegates heard from a number of prestigious speakers and renowned academics, including the First Secretary at the American Embassy in Beijing, Ms. Colleen Altstock and the Dean of the School of International Relations at Peking University, Mr. Qingguo Jia. They gave general speeches on a variety of issues, depicting the Chinese and American perspectives on each other and tried to show the deep-lying causes behind them.

FACES organizers knew all too well that monotonous lecturing wouldn’t form a deep understanding of U.S.-China relations. That is why apart from the general speeches, they also invited FACES alumni and other academics to organize seminars regarding some of the most hotly-debated topics between China and America. How’s the democratic system different in those two countries? Is it true that China is a collectivist country and America a individualistic one? Is nationalism posing as an obstacle for the advancement of strategic cooperation between the leaders of the developed world and the developing world? Delegates and moderators sat around small tables and scratched their heads.

And certainly they were not confined to their small tables, nor the Stanford Centre, nor Peking University. FACES organized a field visit to China’s largest sportswear brand Li-Ning’s factories in a development zone in northeastern Beijing. This is the intellectual hub of designing of the former gymnastics champion’s firm. Delegates spent an entire morning at Li-Ning, curious to find out all those peculiarities of the Chinese corporate world.

Away from intensive academic activities, the delegates also had a good number of entertainment and bonding events. Organizers invited some of the prominent FACES alumni to join the social activities. Delegates toured around the ancient part of Beijing and were obviously impressed by Chinese architecture. Their praise also went to the Chinese food, and it was the variety of dishes and snacks that had them staring in awe.

For all the Chinese and American delegates who sacrificed a lot of school time to come to Beijing, they conspicuously enjoyed the time and thought it was completely worth it. As China and America continues to pay attention to each other, their relationship is always going to play an ever-increasing role in world order. Deepening the understanding of each other among youths has thus become a very important step towards amicable ties in the future. FACES sincerely hopes that more talents from both continents will take the opportunity of the forum to rip off the “exotic” label on each other, and start to understand that an excellent cooperation is only going to benefit both countries and even the world as a whole.

Reported by: Xu Liangdi