FACES Partners with 1990 Institute to Promote "Youth Voices on China" Video Contest

On February 28, Executive Director of the 1990 Institute Monica Lee spoke to Stanford students about the upcoming annual video contest “Youth Voices on China”—a digital media learning initiative sponsored by the 1990 Institute.

Monica Lee is a technology entrepreneur and angel investor with a wealth of experience in helping venture capital firms and tech startups enter China. Apart from her previous investment projects in data security and enterprise software, Monica is concerned about American students’ general lack of interest in and understanding of modern China. This motivated her to help coordinate the national video contest as part of the program of the 1990 Institute, whose mission is to to build trust between US and Chinese nationals through education.

This year, with the theme “China: Collected Stories,” in hopes of fostering global awareness and deeper awareness of US-China relations, the contest encourages students in the US to collect personal stories from Mainland China. Finalists of the contest will receive professional videography training and have a chance of winning the prize of $30,000. In her presentation, Monica showcased a video entry from a past contest. The touching story detailed the contestant’s constant struggles in reconciling her Chinese and American identities. Similarly, this year the organizers and judges are looking for videos that will make them “laugh, cry, smile, or awed and enlightened.” Monica revealed that among the judges this year is Joan Chen, 1990 Institute board member and famed actress. Monica additionally emphasized her hope to see more entries from undergraduate students. The deadline to submit video entries is April 3.

Monica’s presentation ended with an engaging trivia contest on China’s current affairs. The audience enthusiastically participated in the trivia, with questions ranging from China’s investments in the US to Chinese pop culture and Chinese memes.

 For more information about the 1990 Institute's “Youth Voices on China” video contest, please visit http://youthvoices.1990institute.org/.

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Opening the Dialogue on Media Politics in China: A Conversation with Professor Maria Repnikova

What is the relationship between journalism and the party-state in China? On February 21st, FACES members and alumni had the opportunity to attend a private talk with visiting Professor Maria Repnikova and hear an expert perspective on Chinese political communication. The event was carried out with the support of FSI and took place in conjunction with the professor’s public speaking event later in the day. Before the talk, participants were provided with access to Professor Repnikova’s research and written articles on relevant topics such as journalism education in China and the Little Pink gendered cyber-nationalism wave that occurred in 2016.

During the roundtable event, the conversation covered a wide range of subjects. Attendees asked and learned about the effects of censorship on a growing social media celebrity culture, ways foreign journalists can maintain their position, changes under the Xi regime, and more. They also had the privilege of hearing about Professor Repnikova’s personal experience and insights on the current and future climate of journalism in China. She spoke about the rise of new media innovations such as Shanghai-based PengPai, an online news-platform that although is state-funded, has consistently delivered investigative and in-depth journalism.

From Professor Repnikova's perspective, there will likely be a continued increase in top-down regulation of media under the current party government. However, she touched on the fact that resistance to censorship is certainly present, and there are creative methods of dissent from individuals ranging from journalists to university students to even propaganda officials. Professor Repnikova also shared details on her research such as the intricacies of sensitive data collection and the long and often unpredictable process of cultivating connections. Professor Repnikova additionally touched on her future work on comparing Chinese media politics with that of other countries. Overall, the discussion was an insightful introduction to and overview of the uniquely protected media landscape in China.

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Pressing Environmental and Energy Challenges: A Joint U.S.-China Dialogue

On January 12th, FACES hosted a joint Stanford-Peking University Telesummit on Pressing Environmental and Energy Challenges: A Joint U.S.-China Dialogue, at the Highly Immersive Classroom at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Center at Peking University. The two speakers at Stanford were Professor Mark Jacobson and Professor Jeffrey Ball. The professors representing Peking University were Zheng Mei and Chen Qi.

Professor Jacobson has devoted his career on better understanding air pollution and global warming problems and developing large-scale clean, renewable solutions to them. Jeffrey Ball, a scholar-in-residence at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy, offered a different perspective as a writer, whose work focuses on energy and the environment. Peking University professor Zheng Mei works in the Aerosol Sources and Health Effects Laboratory, where she studies the sources of PM 2.5 and the health effects of fine particulate in the air pollution. Chen Qi spoke from her knowledge of air quality in developing countries and the health effects of air pollution.

The professors’ discussion included topics such as national government versus state government versus industry funding for researching clean energy alternatives, America and China’s approach to energy and pollution challenges. The overarching question that the four speakers grappled with involved how China and the U.S. can work together to promote clean and efficient energy alternatives. As global leaders, what responsibility do the two countries have in setting an example for the rest of the world?

 

A U.S.-China Dialogue on Education

On January 13, 2017, students from Stanford and Peking University gathered in their schools’ Highly Immersive Classrooms (HICs) for the annual FACES Telesummit.

This year’s Telesummit centered on issues in higher education in China and the United States, with Professors David Labaree and Francisco Ramirez from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education in dialogue with Peking University Professor Qin Chunhua, and MJ (Meijie) Tang, the Director of the Rhodes Scholarship’s China Program. The Telesummit was moderated by Steven Wang, FACES ’15.

What ensued was a lively, engaging discussion that touched on major issues facing higher education institutions and policymakers in both countries. Professors Labaree and Ramirez began by tracing the history of American higher education institutions. They outlined a persistent tension between the democratic ideal of autonomy within higher education institutions and the resulting trend towards corporatization as schools become more concerned with their bottom line than preserving the public good. This tension, Labaree noted, has turned America’s higher education system into a mechanism to preserve social advantage, instead of a driver of upward social mobility.

On the Beijing side, Professor Qin Chunhua questioned the legitimacy of the Chinese college admissions process. Speaking as a former college admissions officer, Chun was skeptical of the negative effects of the Gaokao standardized test system on individuals’ academic growth. MJ Tang described her own experience within the Chinese higher education system, humorously and passionately mapping her own youth onto the broader education reforms enacted by the Chinese government in the late 1990s. The panelists each brought diverse perspectives, adding depth to the Telesummit discussion, but not without exposing intriguing tensions among the different viewpoints.

 

Each of the panelists concluded by attempting to answer a deceptively simple question: What is the purpose of higher education? On the Beijing side, the panelists said that one should be able to find oneself and achieve a state of inner peace – MJ Tang related a successful higher education experience with the discovery of what "happiness" can be. On the other hand, Professor Ramirez hesitated to answer this overarching question, citing the different goals of the plethora of American higher education institutions. Professor Labaree also inspired amused curiosity from the attendees upon refusing to even answer the question. In the end, while the Telesummit discussion did lead to any definitive conclusions, it shed important light on many of the key challenges facing both countries’ higher education systems.

In many ways, both countries often face similar challenges from opposite perspectives, e.g. Chinese schools seek to incorporate diversity in a standardized admissions system, while schools in the US seek ways of making admissions more equitable in a system that is highly subjective.

By driving engagement on these issues, the Telesummit raised the possibility that there may be more that academics, policy makers, and administrators in both China and the United States can learn from each other as they work to tackle these problems at home.

Speaker Series: Renren Yang on Modern Chinese Identity

On Friday, May 13, Renren Yang, a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature, came to speak to students about evolving notions of Chinese identity in modern times.  Drawing on classical ideas of what it means to be Chinese, Renren showed how "Chinese-ness" represents a particular mixture of cultural, racial, and national identity.  Whereas the development of many other peoples' modern identities coincided with the emergence of nation states, Chinese identity today hinges upon a peculiar negotiation between the codification of the Confucian value system in the distant past which entails a cultural-racial conception of Han superiority and the model for multi-ethnic people nation in the present. It is therefore necessary to look for other parameters to conceive Chinese identities other than culturalism and nationalism.

 

 

Alumni Interview: Siqi Mou

Alumni Interview: Siqi Mou

Siqi Mou is currently pursuing a joint degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Kennedy School, focusing on monetary policy, capital markets, public/private partnership, social entrepreneurship, and impact investment. Previously, she has worked for Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Siqi became a member of FACES in 2011 during her undergraduate career at Stanford, where she received a B.A. in Economics

Alumni Interview: Kai Lukoff

Alumni Interview: Kai Lukoff

Kai has been on the inside of China's smartphone revolution for the last five years. He is Director of Internationalization at Wandoujia, a mobile content search engine with over 300 million Android users in China. He’s leading the company’s global expansion, starting in Southeast Asia. As the founder of leading China tech blog, TechRice.com, he analyzes what matters in mobile. Kai is based in Beijing with his ear-to-the-ground, visiting internet cafes and the garages of early-stage Chinese entrepreneurs. His areas of expertise include mobile apps and games, social media, and e-commerce. Kai holds a BA from Stanford University. 

Alumni Interview: Jessica Chen-Weiss, Founder of FACES

Alumni Interview: Jessica Chen-Weiss, Founder of FACES

Jessica Chen-Weiss is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University and Research Fellow at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. Her research interests include Chinese politics and international relations, nationalism, and social protest. Her book, Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China's Foreign Relations, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press (Summer 2014). The dissertation on which it is based won the 2009 American Political Science Association Helen Dwight Reid Award for best dissertation in international relations, law and politics.

FACES hosts 2016 Stanford-Peking University Telesummit! Scholars and students discuss women's issues in a comparative light

FACES hosts 2016 Stanford-Peking University Telesummit! Scholars and students discuss women's issues in a comparative light

Last Tuesday, FACES hosted our annual Stanford-Peking University Telesummit, bringing scholars from China and the US together to discuss issues pertinent to both countries. It took the form of a panel discussion using a live video feed between state-of-the-art classrooms in the Stanford Center at Peking University in Beijing and at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The conversation centered on women’s issues and reproductive health. 

You can watch the full video recording by clicking "Read More"!

Stanford and Peking University Scholars Confront on Chinese Foreign Policies: Scholars Meet through the Inaugural FACES Telesummit

Through Stanford’s Highly Immersive Classrooms at the Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Center at Peking University, leading scholars from Stanford University and Peking University were invited to engage each other on a US-China relations topic alongside a forum of participating students from both universities for the inaugural FACES Telesummit. Luke Babich, FACES Vice President of Development, acted as moderator for this discussion and reports on the event in this article.