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The student-organized conference attracted hundreds as renowned professionals discussed China-related topics

As part of the second annual BYU China Conference, students from all disciplines had the chance to hear from a diverse panel of speakers, including a guest appearance by popular Chinese TV host Cui Yong Yuan.

The student-run conference involved around 40 volunteers, allowing various colleges from across campus to meet and discuss their work relating to China. With a total of six colleges, it was the first time such a large group was gathered to discuss BYU’s involvement with China.

“With such a diversity of topics and areas, the conference was not only insightful to students, but to faculty and staff as well,” said Peter Chan, the faculty advisor of the conference.

China’s popular talk show host Cui Yong Yuan joined the conference attendees through a video call, in which he discussed his admiration for BYU. Yuan recalled his first exposure to the university was when the BYU Young Ambassadors performed in China in 1978, which at the time was a very unique experience. He remembers how impressive their dancing and singing was, and he felt very excited to be able to connect once again with BYU.

Former choreographer for the Beijing Dance Academy and BYU professor Jiamin Huang discussed how gestures can help communicate between cultures and overcome language barriers. Huang’s students performed to show how body language can replace words, after which Huang invited the audience to participate and dance.

Noble Coker, a BYU alumnus and former vice president and CIO of Disneyland–Hong Kong, shared his experience working in China.

As part of their project “In Search of the Heavenly Emperor,” Peter Chan, Caroline Kwok, and Academy Award–winning filmmaker Casey Williams shared highlights of their research on connections between ancient Chinese practices and the Hebrew Bible.

Finally, Dr. Tang-Yuan Chu, who specializes in sciences related to women’s health in Taiwan, spoke about ovarian cancer. He explained how changes in lifestyle throughout history have impacted women’s health.

Peter Chan said he was pleased with how the conference turned out. With 280 registered participants, the conference attendance had doubled from last year.

“We were able to put together a successful and high quality event with just volunteer students,” Chan said. “I gave them the vision and they did all the hard work. It’s exceptional.”

For next year’s conference, Chan hopes to get more colleges involved to further expose students and the BYU community to diverse topics related to China.

Writer: Lorraine Bailey

Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922