Being Broad-Minded and Excellent Speech by Dean Men Honghua At the 2018 Freshmen Opening Ceremony of the School of Political Science & International Relations, Tongji University
Time: 2021-08-10

Dear Students of Class of 2018,

Fellow Teachers,

As the weather begins to cool off, early autumn has arrived. In this season of harvest, the 2018 Freshmen Opening Ceremony of the School of Political Science & International Relations (SPSIR) is solemnly held today. On behalf of the Party and administrative team and the faculty and students of SPSIR, I'd like to extend a warm welcome to you. Congratulations on joining SPSIR and Tongji University!

There are glorious flowers in spring and solid fruits in autumn. For each of you and SPSIR, yesterday's hard work is for today's gains. Becoming a SPSIRer in 2018 is both a reward for your past efforts and a new start in your promising life. 2018 is also a harvest year for SPSIR: In January, the first-level discipline doctoral programs in political science were established upon approval; and in July, the first research base at ministerial and provincial level for the liberal arts of Tongji University was set up. Your arrival has made this extraordinary year even more brilliant.

Dear Students,

I wish you to develop a global vision. The world is facing a fully rising China that is more confident and open; while China is facing a world in which the situation is more complicated, changes are more profound, and opportunities and challenges coexist. The big change caused by the rise of China is shaping a new world order. The interaction between China and other countries becomes more complex. As Huang Zunxian, a forerunner in China's modernization, said, “To know the time of day, it is important to understand the current situation; to learn about the world, it is important to understand the society.” In the new era, you must not only indulge into philosophical and theoretical studies in the palace of knowledge, but also put what you've learnt into practice and broaden your horizon in the melting pot of current affairs, to truly connect personal growth with the progress of the times and truly integrate personal gains with social development. Only in this way can you understand the China-world relations and realize a good interaction between your own dream and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.

I wish you to cultivate virtue. The fundamental task of a university is to promote the development of students in personality, ability and character. Tongji University also aims at cultivating students with sound personality, solid knowledge and creativity. As a century-old institution of higher learning, Tongji insists on "growing with the motherland and benefiting mankind with science and education", and is committed to building itself into a world-class comprehensive university that is deeply rooted in China. At Tongji, natural sciences promote us to transform the objective world with innovative thinking and experimental spirit; and social sciences inspire us to understand the subjective world with philosophical speculation and empirical reasoning. Tongji's being "first-class" is demonstrated in its strong advantages in disciplines like civil engineering, but a "first-class Tongji" relies on the balanced development of liberal arts, sciences and engineering. Facing a bright future, the people of Tongji will continue to forge ahead and stick together through thick and thin.

I wish you to keep pace with the times. At present, the domestic and international situations are closely intertwined; new opportunities and challenges come together. In this context, our School develops at its own pace. We have adhered to the basic ideas of "building the School on sound institutions, prospering it through academic excellence, making it stronger through discipline development, and putting students first", focused on strategic research, and work to build it into an academic platform with great influence. We have strengthened the integration of liberal arts, sciences and engineering and aim at becoming a leader for the development of liberal arts of Tongji. And we emphasize on imparting knowledge and educating people, working hard to cultivate elites with a global vision, strategic thinking, creativity, practical ability and a good knowledge of national governance and international affairs. To this end, we at the School have actively organized high-end forums and academic lectures to promote overseas exchanges and social practice, thus providing a feast of ideas and a stage for display. Now our School is about to set sail again. Your arrival is at the right time.

Dear Students,

The new era provides you both an opportunity to see the world and observe everything and a mission of "studying for the rise of China". Similarly, Tongji shares with you both a reputation of "sailing in the same boat and pursuing excellence" and a responsibility of ''benefiting the world". And the School creates a platform for you to develop in an all-around way and combine learning with practice, and expects you to "study the nature of things to acquire knowledge". A powerful country benefits from first-class universities; first-class universities rely on first-rate disciplines; and first-rate disciplines are created by top talents. To help you accomplish yourself in the pursuit of excellence, I, on behalf of the School and faculty, would like to put forward the following expectations for you:

First, abide by the rules and cultivate awe-inspiring spirit. As the saying goes, "Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards." Rules are devised to provide, not limit, true freedom that benefits everyone. With rules, you can enjoy the freedom of pursuing your own ambitions. In your future life at the School, I hope that you can meet challenges in a composed manner, get along with others in a reciprocal way, and cultivate your personal temperament with the Golden Mean philosophy. I hope you will be young people who follow the rules and have aspirations in the new era.

Second, focus on studying and be observant. Study is the top priority for students. You should learn to read classics and listen to great masters' viewpoint, combine abstract theories with practices in reality intentionally, and dare to explore the unknown and think out of the box. Lao Tzu said: "He who devotes himself to learning seeks from day to day to increase his knowledge; he who devotes himself to the Dao seeks from day to day to diminish his doing." By ceaseless learning, we can keep a simple heart and inner peace. With an insight into the world, we can think more profoundly. Therefore, I hope that you will cultivate your learning ability, realize your ideals and live up to the expectations of your parents in the future.

Third, be open-minded and appreciate the beauty of integration. Mr. Fei Xiaotong once said, "Every form of beauty has its uniqueness. Precious is to appreciate other forms of beauty with openness. If beauty represents itself with diversity and integrity, the world will be blessed with harmony and unity." You are living in a world where cultures of East and West converge and you are in an era that is inclusive and open. Now you are coming to a multi-disciplinary platform. Don't lose the opportunity to learn because of stubbornness, or hold prejudices due to arrogance. At Tongji, as you major in social sciences, you should also take into account studies of natural sciences. I hope that you can build an open knowledge system, strengthen cross-disciplinary integration, and improve the way of thinking in the observation of the world.

Fourth, pay attention to practice and take on social responsibility. Man is social by nature. The most important role of a university is to serve a solid springboard for students to step into society. However, to be socialized is not meant to be utilitarian or vulgar. Rather, it means to learn the ways of the world and act with discipline. Therefore, a social person should have a sense of responsibility and realize self-fulfillment by helping others.

Fifth, live a healthy life and live youth to the fullest. The vision of "green" development is suitable not only for a country, but also for each individual. At Tongji, we are always concerned with the physical and mental health of students. We have provided advanced infrastructure and various relaxing activities. I hope you will make good use of these resources and exercise regularly. I hope you will befriend with positive and optimistic persons and bring warmth to those around you. I hope in the next few years you will share more compliment and gratitude and less complaints and negativity to WeChat Moments.

Dear Students,

Before this day, you have worked hard for admission to Tongji; afterwards, you will strive for self-fulfillment. The teachers at the School give you thumbs up for your previous sweat and dedication and are ready to protect your dreams and hopes in the following four years. "A truly noble and virtuous person is excellent and unrivalled." There will be hardships and frustration on your journey toward being broad-minded and excellent, but ultimately it’s rewarding. I look forward to seeing your efforts in pursuit of excellence, and wish you success.

Thank you!