The contemporary era of economic globalization, as another phase of the longue durée of modern world history, has been changing and will continue to change the human geographies of the world across all nations and regions, involving no less than a reproduction of humanity and social life itself on an unprecedented scale in human history. It has often been remarked that we live in a time of superfast, hyper-transformative technological innovation and economic growth, when lived histories and intellectual legacy of human beings have been rendered insignificant. Meanwhile, the deepening sense of uncertainty in social belonging and the ground-gaining of cultural parochialism in various forms have become a world-wide phenomenon, raising questions about the meaning of the economic achievement that have brought dramatic growth of wealth and opportunities to the world. Amidst such sea change, humanities education centered on cross-cultural knowledge production and cultural exchange and fusion has taken on ever greater historical significance. However new the globalized technology becomes, however huge the wealth accumulates, it is the ways in which they are articulated with the formation of the individual human beings, communities, nations and countries of all kinds that ultimately matter, bringing tremendous and long-lasting consequence to the present and future, as it did in world history.
In the spirit of such a recognition, Tsinghua University proposes the initiative of establishing Association for the Humanities in Higher Education (China-UK), as a cross-institutional mechanism for cross-cultural, transnational, and global dialogues, conversations and collaborations in the humanities and humanities education.
UK-China Humanities Alliance is an international organization for humanities in higher education initiated by Tsinghua University, and co-founded by other 12 top-ranking institutions in China and the UK. Founding members share the commonly recognition that humanities exchange in international relations has ever-increasing importance in enhancing mutual understanding and trust and in promoting the progress of human civilization, and that universities have the ability to provide high-quality education, lead the humanities exchange, and prepare future leaders with a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues that define this age. In acknowledgment of this, the institutions in China and the UK establish the UK-China Humanities Alliance.
The alliance consists of Executive Council and Secretariat of UCHA, leading special committee of each university. Chen Xu, Chair of University Council of Tsinghua University, serves as the first chair of Humanities Alliance. Executive Council is composed by members of Humanities Alliance. Secretariat is set at Institute for World Literatures and Cultures (IWLC), Tsinghua University; Director of IWLC, Yan Haiping, serves as the first secretary general. Secretariat is commissioned by UCHA to carry out the duty of administering the UCHA.
There are 12 founding members of the Humanities Alliance, with 7 institutions in the UK and 5 institutions in China. The first group of members of UCHA include Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University, Wuhan University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Oxford China Centre, the Needham Research Institute University of Cambridge, School of Oriental and African Studies University of London, King’s College London, Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures University of Reading, Manchester University Peace Studies Institute, Humanities Research Centre University of Warwick.
Up to 2017, participating members have expanded to 17. Shanghai International Studies University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, University of Exeter, Loughborough University, QS. British Academy also participated the Executive Council Meeting of the 2017 Forum as an observer.
In 2018, University College London joined the UK-China Humanities Alliance.
1. Organize UK-China Humanities Alliance Annual Conference, also known as the UK-China Humanities Summit Forum. To encourage cross-cultural conversations and collaborations in humanities education, UCHA decides to hold UK-China Humanities Alliance Annual Conference. This conference is a high-end conference attended by established scholars of humanities in universities in UK and China, and it will take place alternatively in China and UK.
2. Organize UCHA Junior Scholars Forum. To encourage dialogues and collaboration between junior scholars in China and UK, members of UCHA agree to organize UCHA Junior Scholars Forum.
3. Establish UCHA Young Talent Project. This project aims to provide a cooperation platform for junior scholars in China and UK. The project plans to reward young talents in four feature programs: Creativity, Composition, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The program of UCHA Young Talent Project is discussed by members of UCHA; Executive Council and Secretariat will review, decide, and commission the organizing activity.