Harvard moves academy to NTU

Program director Jennifer Liu said the move to Taipei was due to a “perceived lack of friendliness” at the Beijing Language and Culture University.

  • By Kayleigh Madjar / Editor-in-Chief

Harvard University is due to move its summer Mandarin program from Beijing to National Taiwan University (NTU) from next year, a student publication reported Thursday.

Headed at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) since 2004, Harvard Beijing Academy will become Harvard Taipei Academy once it moves to Taiwan, crimson the magazine reported.

Program director Jennifer Liu (劉力嘉) attributed the decision to a “perceived lack of friendliness” on the part of the Chinese university, potentially due to shifting political winds.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

Liu told the magazine that BLCU in recent years has failed to provide a single dormitory for students or separate accommodation of equal quality.

He also banned the July 4 celebration for students and professors in 2019 amid a backdrop of sour attitudes towards American institutions since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power (習近平), she said. .

However, Harvard Center Shanghai president William Kirby argued the move was purely for logistical reasons, saying crimson that Harvard has forged closer ties with China overall.

“Now is not the time when this university is pulling out of its engagement with China – it is actually looking for all possible ways to deepen it,” Kirby said, as quoted by the magazine.

Kirby cited collaborations between Chinese academics and the Fairbank Center, the Harvard Kennedy School Asia Fellows Program and the Harvard Center Shanghai, which held in-person events as the rest of Harvard was closed due to the COVID pandemic. -19.

NTU said the program was due to start in the summer of last year following discussions that began in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed opening until next year.

Hopefully, NTU’s free academic atmosphere will provide a solid foundation for Harvard University students to study Mandarin, while NTU students could develop a more international perspective by engaging with their American peers, NTU added.

As an official Harvard Summer School program, the eight-week course is scheduled to be taught by Harvard faculty from June through August of next year.

The Harvard Taipei Academy website promises the same academic rigor as the Beijing curriculum, with the opportunity to immerse yourself in “Taiwan’s vibrant and diverse society and culture – a unique island where tradition and modernity are closely linked.” .

Five hours of lessons for about sixty students will be offered daily from Monday to Thursday, with exams every Friday.

The program also promises weekend excursions and extracurricular cultural activities such as taichi and calligraphy, as well as modern accommodation right next to campus.

Tsai Ya-hsun (蔡雅勳) said the teaching of Mandarin is excellent on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, but that China has eclipsed Taiwan as a study destination since the 1980s.

However, with the worsening of relations between the United States and China and the designation by the earlier Confucius Institutes as foreign missions, Taiwan is once again becoming an attractive place of study, she said, adding that she believed that the free environment in Taiwan could be beneficial for language students.

Wu Po-hsuan additional reports

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