The Beijing Center Opens First Satellite Site
The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (TBC), founded by Fr. Ron Anton SJ in 1998, has formally opened its first satellite site inside Mainland China. The Kunming Liya Center, or 昆明理雅学苑, is located in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Yunnan Province is one of China’s southernmost provinces, bordering Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Kunming is often referred to as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ for its fair climate and lush biodiversity.
“Because we believe that China is the classroom, exploring the country has been integral to the TBC experience since day one,” said Simon Koo, Executive Director. “Students travel to Kunming as part of our Yunnan Province immersive excursion, and so selecting Kunming as the first satellite site location of TBC was the easiest choice to make.”
The Kunming Liya Center is a two-story building equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms, faculty and staff offices, and two sunny lounges. Its three classrooms can hold around fifty people. Besides its use for The Beijing Center students and partners, the space is able to be used by a variety of programs such as other educational organizations, tourist and travel groups, and the local community.
Kunming Liya takes its name from its host city, just like The Beijing Center, as well as the Chinese abbreviation for ‘Liberal Arts.’ Kunming is a steadily-growing research and study location with sixteen universities within city limits. It’s one of the top 200 cities in the world in scientific and scholarly output, with ethnology and ecology as the top subjects – after all, Yunnan Province is home to 25 of China’s 56 officially-recognized ethnic minorities and harbors almost 75% of China’s protected wild animals.
“I’m really excited to welcome guests, friends, students and partners to our Kunming location,” said Kunming Operations Officer Olina Xu. “Kunming Liya is an exciting development for Jesuit education in China. Matteo Ricci really inspired us to dive into new worlds, and Kunming has so much to offer learners of all kinds.”
The Beijing Center was established in 1998 to be a hub for the international Jesuit higher education network in mainland China, an organization that serves the community, and the intellectual apostolate of the Chinese Province of the Society of Friends of Jesus. As a not-for-profit higher education institution, both international and domestic students take accredited classes held at United States-university level rigor. Upholding a tradition built over centuries of friendship, The Beijing Center builds bridges between China and the rest of the world through a passion for education, service, and engagement.