Landmark Events in the Yale-China History

1854 – Yung Wing graduates from Yale College and becomes the first person from China to earn a degree from an American college or university. His subsequent gift of a substantial portion of his personal library forms the nucleus of Yale’s East Asia Library’s Chinese collection, one of the major collections in the United States.

1878 – With the appointment of Samuel Wells Williams, a former American missionary and diplomat in China, the study of China becomes part of the Yale curriculum.

1901 – A group of Yale faculty and alumni launch the Yale-China Association, a private, non-profit organization based on the Yale campus, dedicated to the education in and about China and to the furtherance of mutual understanding and knowledge between the Chinese and the American people.

1936 – Yale pioneers a new program for Chinese language instruction and begins to develop innovative Chinese textbooks.

1990 – Yale University Press, in collaboration with China International Publishing Group, launches an awarding series of books, “The Culture and Civilization of China.”  To date, nine volumes have been published: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting (1997), Chinese Architecture (2002), Key Concepts in Chinese Philosophy (2002), Balanced Discourses (2003), The Formation of Chinese Civilization (2005), Chinese Sculpture (2006), Chinese Calligraphy (2008), Chinese Ceramics (2010), and Chinese Silks (2012).

2006 – As one of only three stops during his historic trip to the United States, President Hu Jintao visits Yale, and gives the first speech by a Chinese head-of-state ever to be broadcast live in China.

2007 – A group of 100 Yale students, faculty, and staff visit China in response to President Hu’s personal invitation and are given a ten-day official tour of China.

2008 – The Yale School of Music and Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music host “Musicathalon: A Cultural Prelude to the Olympics,” a series of concerts, lectures, and master classes and the School of Management sponsors the “Yale Global Business Leadership Program at the Olympic Games.”

2009 – During her visit in April 2009, Chinese State Councilor Madam Liu Yandong invited fifty Yale graduate students to visit China.

2013 – Encounters, a groundbreaking Chinese language program that features a dramatic series filmed entirely in China, was officially launched. The program’s highly communicative approach immerses learners in the Chinese language and culture through video episodes that correspond to units in the combination textbook-workbook. By combining a compelling story line with a wealth of educational materials, Encounters weaves a tapestry of Chinese language and culture rich in teaching and learning opportunities.

For a more comprehensive timeline, click here.

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