By Jieli Li
The Association of Chinese Professors of Social Sciences in the United States (ACPSS) held its 21st international conference on the campus of the University of North Florida (UNF) from October 23-25, 2015. In co-sponsorship with Confucius Institute at UNF, this year’s conference featured the theme on “Cultural Exchange and Globalization” and drew over 60 scholars from both the U.S. and China to present their research papers and participate in theme-related roundtable discussion in a total of 17 panels. The panels covered a variety of topics ranging from practice and challenges of Confucius Institutes in the U.S. to cultural education and communication in the era of globalization to the intercultural prospects of China’s globally oriented initiatives on “One Belt and One Road” – a new “Silk Road” project for the 21st century.
The conference started with warm welcome remarks made by both Dr. Earle Traynham, Provost of UNF and Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez, Vice President of UNF International Affairs and Students Affairs, which were immediately followed by a keynote speech delivered by Professor Xiao Zhenghong, an eminent scholar of cultural studies from Shaanxi Normal University, China, on “A Pluralistic and Process-oriented Perspective on the Basis for the Understanding of Traditional Chinese Culture”.
On the second day of the conference, right after the regular panels, ACPSS conducted its bi-annual election for new president and the new board of directors. Dr. Ouyang Ronghua was elected the president to succeed his predecessor Dr. Huang Shaorong. The newly elected board of directors includes Drs. Liang Bin, Huang Yonggang, Zhang Yunqiu, Jiang Lan, Meng Lijuan, and Jiang Ting. On a different occasion, ACPSS also announced the list of award recipients at its bi-annual award ceremony where Dr. Song Jingyi and Dr. Han Aiguo received the outstanding service awards, and Dr. Li Xiaobing, Dr. Shan Fuliang, Dr. Huang Yonggang, Dr. Huang Shaorong, and Dr. Zhang Jie received the best research awards on different categories of publication. The conference culminated with a special event featuring a dinner-opera combination at a local stadium where all participants watched a Broadway classic musical Anything Goes while enjoying the delicious food and drinks – it was indeed a wonderful night!
When we bid farewell (with some parting even in tears), we all looked forward to meeting with each other again at our next year’s ACPSS conference – an annual event often intimately called by ACPSS members as "a home away from home."