2019 Freshmen Opening Ceremony grandly held

On the morning of August 29, 2019, a joint Opening Ceremony for 2019 postgraduates & international freshmen of the School of Political Science & International Relations (SPSIR) was held in the lecture hall on the 4th floor of Zhonghe Building. Tongji Distinguished Professor Men Honghua, Dean the School, delivered a speech. Associate Dean Professor Wang Cungang, Associate Deans Professor Zheng Chunrong, Professor Qiu Huafei, Director of the Academic Committee, together with other postgraduate supervisors attended the ceremony, which was moderated by Professor Xu Hong, Secretary of the Party Committee of the School.

Dean Men delivered a speech to the 2019 doctoral and postgraduate freshmen. First of all, he extended a warm welcome to the newcomers on behalf of the Party and administrative team and all the teachers and students of the School. Then, he introduced the milestone achievements of the School in recent years: it was approved to set up the first-level doctoral programs in political science in January 2018; it was approved to establish the first provincial and ministerial research base for Tongji's liberal arts in July 2018; and characterized by going international, it was listed as one of the first colleges under the "Three All-rounds Education" comprehensive reform pilot projects in Tongji University in June 2019. The School of Political Science & International Relations is becoming a major teaching and research center for China & World studies and political science. Dean Men pointed out that across the boundaries of time and space, every student of the School had the responsibility to think about the present and the future historically and to think about the China & world relations against a global backdrop. Starting from the general development trend of China and the world, he encouraged the students, in the face of the new opportunities and challenges brought by "the profound changes unseen in a century", to not only indulge in the palace of knowledge to read classical works and improve personality, but also combine personal growth with the progress of the times, integrate personal gains with social development and undertake more humanistic missions, so as to stand firm and keep cool-headed in the changing times. In the following, the Dean said that in the past 100-plus years of history, Tongji has shared weal and woe with China. “Growing with the motherland and benefiting mankind with science and education” is a goal that Tongji teachers and students pursue in a lifetime. He hoped that the students would uphold the Tongji Spirit, the reflection of the great spirit of the Chinese nation in social science research, study rigorously and make contributions to the society. Quoting from classics, he put forward three expectations for the freshmen: First, never cease learning. The Dean suggested the students read both extensively and intensively. While majoring in social sciences, the students should also take into account the studies of humanities and natural sciences. He urged them to pursue cross-disciplinary integration and perfect ego personality in the observation of the vast world. Second, pursue self-improvement and be persistent. He hoped the students to have both ambition and perseverance in their study life. He said that all efforts will be rewarded; and like the finest diamond must be cut, adversity is the fuel for success. Third, have a good heart and awe-inspiring spirit. He expected the students to be candid with others and themselves, and love their family and the country. He hoped they would have an open mind, broad vision and exploring spirit, and realize the value of life by contributing to the society.

Professor Yu Minjiang made a speech as the teacher representative. Also as a newcomer in the School, he said that he was looking forward to a new life here, just like the freshmen present. Prof. Yu shared three thoughts with the students on how to become a qualified or even excellent postgraduate in this era of “leading a hurried life, too busy to experience”: First, set an ambitious goal. In the era of information explosion, social complexity, and fame and fortune temptation, a person’s will and courage will be tested more evidently. He hoped that the students would have an ambition to “ordain conscience for Heaven and Earth, secure life and fortune for the people, continue lost teachings for past sages, and establish peace for all future generation”, have the courage to “ask, on this boundless land, who rules over man’s destiny?”, and more importantly, have the responsibility to “drive out evil and usher in good”. Second, be self-disciplined when alone. Through reading, one can cultivate moral character and control his desires, so Prof. Yu suggested the students study and read with high concentration and self-discipline. Third, promote the fine tradition and take on new perspectives. As Prof. Yu believed, this is a gem of wisdom of the Chinese traditional culture. Academic exploration and research is a bounden duty to postgraduates who should also conduct interdisciplinary studies. Finally, Prof. Yu expected the students to deliver more academic achievements, become less impetuous, multiply the chances of success, and beat inertia, thus bringing out their best.

As the freshmen representative, Yu Qinwen, a doctoral candidate of international strategic studies, wanted to find the answer to the question of “what kind of person he wants to be” in the School. He believed that every SPSIRer must not only have the academic innovation capability and a far-sighted global strategic vision, but also a commitment to making contributions to the country and the world. He called for everyone to endure the loneliness, stand up to various challenges, and broaden the horizon, so as to contribute to the realization of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation at an early date. Li Jiangnan (Chinese pinyin of his name), a 2019 international student in International Relations, shared his views on the Chinese dream with the freshmen. He talked about his love for China. It is fulfilling and wonderful to be able to study a favorite program and do interesting things in a place he likes. Therefore, he hoped that his schoolmates would cherish time and have their own dream. Those who walk every day are not afraid of walking thousands of miles; those who work hard every day are not afraid of doing a ton of things. A hardworking and persistent person will reap the reward over time.

As the senior representative, Yao Jiezhen, a 2018 master degree student in Diplomacy, shared her story of growth and change in the School. She said that postgraduate life opens a new chapter, giving us the freedom to choose the way you want to study and live. In this process, we must first learn to face changes with a smile, and live up to our original aspirations while facing up to changes in all aspects of study and life. Secondly, we should pay attention to self-management. That means we should manage our time well and make full use of our spare time to recharge ourselves; and we should also manage our physical health, which is the capital of revolution. Finally, we must learn to think of the world and keep in mind that every SPSIRer is duty-bound to help others and the world with one heart and to prosper the School with academic excellence. She expected that all freshmen would cherish the precious time and enjoy an exciting and rewarding journey here.

At the end of the ceremony, Dean Men and Secretary Xu wore the School emblem for the freshmen representatives, and the leaders, teachers and freshmen present took the first group photo at Tongji University in the hall.