On behalf of the whole school, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to friends from home and abroad. On the occasion of my inauguration as the fifth Dean of School of Economics, Peking University, I would like to share my feelings about our famous School.
My friends, to see how the School of Economics of Peking University has impacted our nation, just ask the following questions. Regarding Chinas modern history, what if there was no Yan Fu? Regarding the history of Chinas Communist Party, what if there was no Li Dazhao? Regarding the history of Chinese economic thought, what if there was no Ma Yinchu?
I believe that without them, Chinas modern history, particularly its economic history, would have been rewritten to a large extent. However, there is no 'what if in real history. We are proud that these great names are closely related to Peking University and its Economics Department, which is the predecessor of School of Economics of Peking University. As the first president of Peking University which was known as the Imperial University of Peking before 1912, Yan Fu established the Economics Department in the first year of his presidency. The establishment of the discipline of economics at Peking University is the origin of Chinas academic development of economics. His translation of The Wealth of Nations in 1902 symbolizes the introduction of modern western economics to China. As a professor of economics at Peking University, Li Dazhao was one of the founders and a remarkable character of the Communist Party of China. He struggled along with Mao Zedong and other revolutionary predecessors for the establishment of New China, which has been an inspiring epic for the Chinese people. As the eighth president and a professor of economics, Ma Yinchu upheld truth without fear of any authorities. His New Population Theory frankly predicted the future of New China. His creed that 'It is quite easy to say what others have said; it is not very easy to say what others want to say; it is much more difficult to say what others dare not say. I say what others want to say and what they dare not say not only shows us the perseverance of Chinese intellectuals, but also makes us understand the true nature of 'Qu Yuan Spirit (Qu Yuan was a renowned patriotic poet in ancient China).
People tend to pay special attention to 'firsts' in history. As the first economic department in China, we have enjoyed such attention. However, being associated with this 'first has not made our economists complacent. The economic discipline at Peking University has a history of over one century. Countless economists have made great contributions to the prosperity and development of economics, economy and society, and have created countless new 'firsts. Our faculty, past and present, along with out alumni are comprised of prestigious and influential figures in academe, business and politics. Yan Fu, Li Dazhao and Ma Yinchu were outstanding representatives among them. It is often said that 'there has never been a university which has been related so closely to the fate of the nation and its people as Peking University; similarly, it is true and appropriate to say that 'there has never been a universitys economics school which has been related so closely to the development of national economic discipline as the School of Economics of Peking University.
In 1985, the development of the economic department at Peking University entered a new era with the establishment of the School of Economics of Peking University. Over the past 26 years, not only have we built upon our strengths in our traditional fields of economics, we have also developed expertise in several new fields to adapt to the needs of Chinas economic development and system changes. In 1998, the School of Economics was selected as one of the 'National Training Bases for Economics. It was also recently selected as 'National model for economics education by the Ministry of Education. With the joint efforts of our faculty and staff, and support from key areas of University and beyond, we have maintained our leadership in research, teaching and providing service to our profession and our nation. The School of Economics remains an ideal place to study for excellent high school students around the country, and for students from other faculties of Peking University. Moreover, it remains an essential think tank for Chinas decision-making ministries and an important platform for international communication.
Our goal is to cultivate the 'outstanding genes and provide an intellectually nutritious environment for future prominent scholars, great entrepreneurs, excellent scientists and effective politicians. But importantly, we should also cultivate students to have an outstanding character. 'Independence, democracy, freedom, skepticism, and criticism are regarded as the essence of a university and the beauty of the university spirit. There is no doubt that such a spirit is a necessary element for ones personality as well as an engine for innovation and creation. We hope that our students can study here with independence, innovation and skepticism in mind, and fully develop their abilities to survive, to adapt and to self-develop. We hope that our students will become excellent graduates who possess a solid foundation, a broad horizon, high moral standards, intellectual curiosity, and good manners.
Under the present economic environment in and outside China, there are a great number of major economic problems for us to solve. As the new generation of SEPKU people whose destiny is to maintain good tradition and continue the glory, we are fully aware of our responsibilities and challenges. With continuously improving facilities, dedicated faculty and staff and energetic students, we have enough courage, ability and wisdom to assume these responsibilities.