Tuesday, December 12, 2023
[In-person] Jockey Club Hall, Asia Society Hong Kong Center
12:30 Welcoming Remarks
13:10 Opening Remarks
13:15 Fireside Chat
13:35 Q&A with Audience
13:55 Closing Remarks
ASHK Members and Harvard University Alumni: HKD 580
Non-Member Ticket: HKD 680
Asia Society Hong Kong Center is proud to present a luncheon discussion with William C. Kirby, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.
In his latest book, Empires of Ideas: Creating the Modern University from Germany to America to China, Professor Kirby explores the development of modern research universities from the model set by German institutions to the dominance of American universities in global rankings to the emergence of Chinese universities in prominence and esteem. In conversation with Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman of Asia Society Hong Kong center, Mr. Kirby will consider what has made US universities so successful, how China's universities have become innovative institutions, and whether their respective successes can continue in view of the challenges they face.
Today American institutions dominate nearly every major ranking of global universities. Yet in historical terms, America's preeminence is relatively new, and there is no reason to assume that U.S. schools will continue to lead the world a century from now. Indeed, America's supremacy in higher education is under great stress, particularly at its public universities. At the same time Chinese universities are on the ascent. Thirty years ago, Chinese institutions were reopening after the catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution; today they are some of the most innovative educational centers in the world. Will China threaten American primacy?
Empires of Ideas looks to the past two hundred years for answers, chronicling two revolutions in higher education: the birth of the research university and its integration with the liberal education model. William C. Kirby examines the successes of leading universities—The University of Berlin and the Free University of Berlin in Germany; Harvard, Duke, and the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States—to determine how they rose to prominence and what threats they currently face. Kirby draws illuminating comparisons to the trajectories of three Chinese contenders: Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, and the University of Hong Kong, which aim to be world-class institutions that can compete with the best the United States and Europe have to offer.
But Chinese institutions also face obstacles. Kirby analyzes the challenges that Chinese academic leaders must confront: reinvesting in undergraduate teaching, developing new models of funding, and navigating a political system that may undermine a true commitment to free inquiry and academic excellence.
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