Speech by Men Honghua Tongji Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Political Science & International Relations, Tongji University At the 2017 Orientation & Teacher-Parent Meeting
Time: 2021-08-22

Speech by Men Honghua

Tongji Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Political Science & International Relations, Tongji University

At the 2017 Orientation & Teacher-Parent Meeting

 September 9, 2017

Dear Parents,

Dear Students of Class of 2017,

On behalf of the School of Political Science & International Relations of Tongji University, I am honored to welcome the arrival of all new students. At this moment, the parents are smiling with pride; the students are young, lively and enthusiastic; and the teachers are full of expectations and filled with a sense of responsibility- all these make me so moved.

First of all, congratulations to all the young talents and parents here. Under the call of the times and with a long-term view, you have chosen to further your study in the School of Political Science & International Relations of Tongji University, a prestigious university with more than 100 years of history. Congratulations and thank you for your choice!

I guess you know one or two things about Tongji University. As a teacher who joined Tongji not long ago, I have gradually learnt more about this university. Its engineering course is very strong, with some disciplines in the forefront of the world. But its future development is constrained by liberal arts. In another word, its development will be greatly boosted by the development of liberal arts, which can even help it rank among the top 10 in China. Yet, the development of liberal arts depends on the strengthening of various disciplines. Our School that covers political science, international relations and sociology is a pioneer in the development of Tongji's liberal arts.

The School of Political Science & International Relations of Tongji University was formally established in 2009. In 1986, the Department of Social Sciences was set up to restore the liberal arts. Political science was developed actively, and research on international issues rose rapidly. In 2003, the Department of Politics and Administration was established; and institutions related to international studies were set up gradually, too. In 2009, the two Departments merged to form the School of Political Science & International Relations, on the basis of three undergraduate programs in politics and administration, international politics and sociology. The School consists of four departments: Department of Political Science, Department of International Relations, Department of Diplomacy, and Department of Sociology. Now, it has two undergraduate programs in politics and administration (including the orientation of international politics) and sociology; and it has one first-level discipline in political science authorized to offer the master's degree and six second-level disciplines authorized to offer the master's degree, namely, political theory, Chinese and foreign political systems, political sociology, international relations, international politics and diplomacy. In addition, it has established the Institute for China & World Studies (a university-level research institution) and theInstitute of International and Public Affairs (a research institution jointly built by the School and the university). It has established an open research pattern with strategic research as the core and Asian studies and European studies as the focus.

In recent years, we have achieved abundant results in talent cultivation, teaching, scientific research, foreign exchanges and social services, etc., and our School has become an important platform for international education of Tongji University. We have built a teaching team with optimized professional structure, reasonable age mix, and a high level of teaching & research and academic influence. As of September 2017, there have been 44 permanent teachers - including 14 professors, 17 associate professors, and 13 lecturers and assistant professors - and 7 administrative staff. Of all the teachers, 39 hold doctorates and 32 have at least one year of overseas study experience. Besides, we have hired one Changjiang Scholar as the chair professor of political science and 16 well-known scholars at home and abroad (including two Changjiang Scholars, one State Council Counselor, and five foreign experts, etc.) as adjunct professors. A development situation where a galaxy of talents make concerted efforts for a great cause is thus formed.

We are committed to cultivating elites with a global vision and strategic thinking, who are able to provide innovative, interdisciplinary solutions to major practical problems, and have a good knowledge of national governance and international affairs. In our School, there are more than 180 professional courses in political science, international relations, diplomacy, and sociology. We are proactive in the recruitment of overseas students. We have established dual master's degree programs with other universities like the Free University of Brussels, and provide students with exchange programs to visit well-known universities in Asia, Europe and America every academic year. Our School is highly recognized by the society for its talent cultivation. Our students have won a large number of municipal and national awards in various events and contests such as social practice, voluntary service, and entrepreneurship & innovation. And the average employment rate of our graduates is over 97%.

Bearing in mind the idea of “closely combining the domestic and international situations”, we are committed to interdisciplinary integration and multidisciplinary research, with political theory as the basis, grand strategy theory as the core, and governance & strategy research as the feature. We seek to play a leading role in a wide range of academic fields including multi-level governance research, China & world studies, and strategy comparison of the rise of great powers. We have achieved fruitful results in research, won many awards and gathered a few academic masters. We have been entrusted with many projects by the National Security Commission of the CPC Central Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, the MOE, the State Oceanic Administration and other central ministries and commissions. The academic leaders of our School are often invited to participate in the policy consultations of these departments. And we have received affirmative comments from important party and state leaders. We at the School have established such high-end forums as the Forum on China & World Studies and Global Emerging Scholar Summit, and enjoy a high academic reputation both at home and abroad.

We have conducted foreign exchanges actively. We have made cooperation with universities and scientific research institutions in the US, Britain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, etc. in a wide range of fields and in various forms such as jointly holding academic seminars, creating international forums, and collaborating in scientific research projects. Moreover, we have established a series of double master's degree programs, double bachelor's degree programs, summer courses and non-degree exchange programs with foreign counterparts including the Free University of Brussels, the University of Bonn, the Free University of Berlin, the University of Hamburg, the Nanyang Technological University, the Kyung Hee University, the University of Pavia, and the University of Indonesia.

The above is a preliminary introduction of the School. I believe that as you make closer ties with Tongji, you will develop a deeper understanding of our School and the University. During the period, I am willing to be your guide and explore the road of development in Tongji together with you.

As the dean of the School, I have high anticipations for you. Living in the new era that sees China’s rise and the world transformation, you should strive to become the trendsetter of the times. My expectations for you are as follows:

First, aim high. "Nothing in the world can be achieved without firm ideals." All those who are successful have great ambitions when they are young. Zengzi said: "An educated gentleman cannot but be resolute and broad-minded, for he has taken up a heavy responsibility and a long course." I hope you will establish lofty ideals and beliefs. I hope you will use the Chinese dream to inspire the youthful dream, and more importantly, use the youthful dream to ignite the Chinese dream, to create an unregretful youth and life.

Second, cultivate virtue. "Without shared core values, a nation and country will be at a loss to know what is right and what is wrong, and its people will have no code of conduct to follow." Young people are the vane of the times and the social force that leads the morality. I hope that you will recognize virtue, follow social ethics, and restrict personal desires; practice what you preach and hold a heart of reverence; and promote truth, goodness and beauty, and communicate positive energy. When getting along with others, you need to learn to be grateful, helpful, humble and tolerant, and remember that "more friends, more opportunities".

Third, study diligently. As written in Lunheng (Balanced Discussion), "People may have high or low abilities, but they all know things by learning." Youth is the best years of life. I hope you will be diligent in study and regard it as a spiritual pursuit. You are full of vigor, dreams and creativity. You should take the initiative to innovate, build up strength and professional competence, and stay sharp and try new things, so as to write your own stories with the innovative spirit of "daring to be the first".

Fourth, keep fit. A healthy body is the basic of other things, and exercise is the source of life. I hope you will be strict with yourself, be it in the crowd or in solitude. Keep good hours and do exercises regularly. Temper your will, build a sound personality, and grow into a person with perseverance, teamwork, kindness and a fighting spirit.

 Thank you!