Sinology Prize winner regrets impact of U.S. war on Iraq

The winner of this year's Tang Prize award in Sinology, who has strongly advocated dialogue between different cultures, has regretted the United States' inability to engage effectively with the Muslim world.

"My father was strongly opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and remains very regretful" about its devastating impact on the world today, said a daughter of Tang Prize laureate William Theodore de Bary in Taipei on Saturday.

Brett de Bary, who is in town to represent her 97-year-old father at Sunday's award ceremony, was answering a question on why her father's life-long advocacy of inter-cultural dialogue has not been taken to heart by Washington in its relations with the Muslim world.

At a press conference after a speech by Rachel E. Chung, associate director of the Columbia University Committee on Asia and the Middle East, de Bary's daughter said her father worked very hard to bridge cultural and civilizational gaps, as seen in his academic works promoting that approach to solve world problems.

Chung, a de Bary protege whose talk was titled "Sinology of William Theodore de Bary: A Bridge Builder Who Became Himself the Bridge," said that while de Bary has not been able to influence politicians, he has tried to encourage his students and faculty to engage in cross-cultural conversations.

Chung noted that President Tsai Ing-wen (???), in a speech she gave at Harvard University in 2011, also talked about the importance of continuous and constant conversations among all countries, including between the U.S., Taiwan and China.

The Tang Prize was founded by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin in 2012 to complement the Nobel Prize and recognize achievements in the fields of sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Sinology and the rule of law. The first Tang Prizes were awarded in 2014.

The laureates in each of the four prize categories either individually receive or share (if there is more than one winner in the category) a cash prize of NT$40 million (US$1.27 million) and a research grant of up to NT$10 million to be used within five years.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel