On April 10, 2011, the Confucius Institute at Valparaiso University participated in “Building Bridges, 2011: Celebrating the Interfaith Ideal”, which was organized by the Valparaiso International Center and Purdue University North Central.
On behalf of the CIVU, its Associate Director, Professor Liu Jiangang, spoke on “Confucianism and Humanity”. His presentation touched on the founders, system of thought and development of Confucianism, on the countries and regions influenced by, and practicing, Confucianism, and on debates on whether Confucianism is a school of thought or a religion. He focused on Benevolence and Righteousness to demonstrate that Confucianism is basically on conditioning interpersonal relationships.
By sharing some of Confucius’ quotes, such as “A man of benevolence, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to succeed himself, he seeks to help others succeed” (夫仁者，己欲立而立人，己欲达而达人), he expounded how Confucius advocates the idea of living and letting live. He discussed how Confucius’ saying “In educating people, I treat everyone the same” (有教无类) shows Confucius is not only regarded as the first teacher in Chinese history but also a strong exponent for equal chances of education in his age.
The audience interacted actively with the speaker. When a lady said how she was amazed by the Chinese characters shown on the screen, Professor Liu wrote on the whiteboard three characters, 人(person), 大(big) and 天(sky, heaven), and explained how most Chinese characters are structured and how they embody their meanings, with the characters being both pictographic and ideographic.
In her email, Dr. Deepa Majumdar, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University North Central, who was one of the organizers of this event, expressed her appreciation of Dr. Liu’s presentation: “Many many thanks for your wonderful presentation. The graphics were so pleasing to the eye and the information great. I believe deeply in education for everyone... that the Ivory Tower ought to come to the people, etc… I almost felt like I was experiencing the great Chinese civilization.”
(Text by Liu Jiangang and Zhang Rong, photo by He Jun, CIVU)