Chancellor William McElroy (left) during UC San Diego’s inaugural trip to China in 1979.
In the fall of 1979, just a few months after the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States, the Chinese Ministry of Education invited the UC San Diego leadership for an official visit to hash out an agreement to enable the exchange of scholars and students between UC San Diego and Chinese universities.
The UC San Diego delegation, led by then Chancellor William McElroy, included a number of internationally prominent scientists, as well as Paul Pickowicz, an assistant professor of History and director of the university’s fledgling Chinese Studies Program. By all accounts, the visit was a clear success, laying the groundwork for many years of successive partnerships and exchanges between UC San Diego and Chinese universities and cultural institutions.
Earlier this year, and some 37 years later, Pickowicz—now a professor of History in the Division of Arts & Humanities and one of the nation’s preeminent authorities on modern Chinese history—discovered a rare and all but forgotten 23-minute, 16 mm film documenting that inaugural visit, hidden away in his research archives. The choppy but fascinating film, was salvaged and restored—with color and sound—and transferred to a user-friendly DVD format by UC San Diego Library staff. The film was made by the Huazhong Institute of Technology in Wuhan, China, and was given to the university delegation as a gift.
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., the UC San Diego Library and the School of Global Policy and Strategy’s 21st Century China Center, will sponsor a public event featuring Pickowicz and the historic film screening. In addition, a panel discussion will be held with several faculty members who attended the 1979 China trip, including: Gay Lin, Lily Lin, Manuel Rotenberg, and David Wong. The 1979 film screening will be followed by a short film touching on the highlights of UC San Diego’s many collaborations with Chinese universities and cultural institutions over the last few decades. Read more…