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谢菲尔德大学前校长致中国学生学者的公开信

发布时间:    来源:神州学人 

  致我过去、现在和未来的亲爱的中国学生的一封信

  孔子说:“有朋自远方来,不亦说乎。”

  这周我第一次在这个病毒肆虐的新世界里授课。在这艰难时期,这给我的心灵带来了片刻慰藉,我在位于牛津的家中,为一位在上海宾馆隔离的学生教授物理。

  我此生的大部分时间都是以一名科学家和教师的身份,教授来自世界各地的学生,他们个个才华横溢,有一些就来自中国。

  在当前形势下,师生纽带得以持续,即使这是借由互联网实现的,也令我高兴不已。目前我们逐渐意识到,在一段时间内,中国学生要来英国求学是多么困难,因此师生纽带可以维系正是我所期待的。与此同时,我也意识到我是如此想向我过去、现在和未来的中国学生诉说:你们对我们是多么的重要,我们又为什么希望你们将来能够再次来到英国。

  英国的许多大学正在逐渐意识到,在未来一段时期内中国学生学者不能来英国将会带来多么严重的后果,很多大学为此深感忧虑。失去中国家庭对我们高等教育体制的支持的担心,甚至使我们的政府思考如何就此提供必要的帮助。

  英国大学在世界上享有盛誉,确实在很大程度上归功于父母和家庭为支付其子女教育所做出的奉献。对成就我们的这些人,我们衷心感激,我也希望在此亲自致谢。

  中国学生使得大量的研究和学术成就成为可能,而实现这些研究和学术成就的设施有很多是在你们的学费资助下建立的。我们树立起全球声誉有你们的功劳,相应的,我也希望,成为英国高校毕业生能为你们带来荣耀。你们使得许多开支颇大的课程、项目得以持续,而正是这些课程、项目发展了必要的科学专业知识,用以对抗目前世界各国人民共同面对的、广泛传播的病毒。

  不仅如此,你们还从其他方面逐渐改变了英国大学的性质。中国学生在思想和学术研究中发挥了巨大作用。我所认识的最杰出的学者中有一部分来自中国。我想起了我的朋友,清华大学的徐教授,他的热情和谦逊毫不逊色于他卓越的学识和仁慈之心——无论是听他描述敦煌石窟的艺术作品项目,还是听他讲述他为盲人制造触摸屏所做出的努力,都令人相形见绌,深受鼓舞。我也想起了与朋友张老师的长谈,他是一位马克思主义学者,也是我所见过的最善解人意、最正派的人之一。

  如果我能建立起这样跨越国界的深厚联系和纽带,那么你们也能。即使残忍的病毒也无法阻挡我们共同学习,因为友邻之光照亮我们的学习之路。

  世界上顶尖大学得出的经验是,我们只有分享知识、交流思想,才能做出最重大的突破。令我欣喜的是,走进最负盛名的实验室,你会看到曾经作为学生第一次来到我们国家的中国科学家,正与同事并肩工作,精诚合作。只有携手才能走向更美好的未来。

  我曾经非常担心人们没有意识到国际学生学者的真正意义,因此我与学生和多所大学一起发起了“#我们是国际的”活动。令我感到自豪的是,这项活动正在英国国际学生事务委员会一位来自中国南京的毕业生的领导下愈加壮大。

  如今,我每天都能体会到这个活动的意义,我很高兴能与来自世界各地的中青年科学家一起工作,与他们探讨在这种新环境中工作所遇到的问题。更为荣幸的是,其中一些科学家来自中国,他们正在学习如何有所作为,从而能够真正地“为人民服务”。

  当然,我希望有一天我能做的不仅仅是给我的中国学生写信,我更期待着与你们见面,正如你们期待着恢复正常的学习和生活。我希望我在伦敦的儿媳能早日与在广州的父母团聚,我中英混血的孙子能在他慈祥的曾祖母怀中嬉笑。有的留学生在求学期间可能会遇到此生所爱,并共度一生。

  但是,在那令人欢乐的一天到来之前,在我看到中国学生再次涌上牛津街道的那一天到来之前,我想再次以一名学者的身份,从心底感谢你们为英国带来的一切。孔子的名言在我耳边回响,你们在这片土地上真正践行了他的智慧。谢谢你们。

  


  A letter to my dear Chinese students - past, present and future. 

  Confucius said “Isn’t it a pleasure to meet with friends from afar.”

  This week I was doing my first teaching in this new virus ridden world. It was a balm to my feelings in these difficult times. So sitting in at home in Oxford I was teaching some Physics to a student in a quarantine hotel in Shanghai. 

  Most of my life has been spent as a scientist and teacher of brilliant students around the world. That included some wonderful ones from the People’s Republic of China.

  Despite the circumstances, I was so happy that the connection between teacher and student could continue for me albeit across the internet. I really needed this at a time where we are learning how difficult it is for a period for students in China to come to the UK. I also realised how much I wanted to explain to you - Chinese students past, present and future - how important you are to us, and why we want you to be able to come back again in the future.

  Many Universities in my country are realising just how important this interruption in scholars travelling from China will be. It is a considerable problem that Universities are deeply worried about. The loss of support from Chinese families into our system of higher education is even necessitating our government to think about how it might need to help. 

  Indeed, the strength of British universities respected around the world owes a great debt of gratitude to the sacrifices that parents and families made to pay for the children. We are deeply grateful for all this has allowed us to do, and I would like to personally add my thanks. 

   Chinese students have enabled a great deal of research and scholarship to develop in facilities which your fees often helped build. You have helped us build our global reputation and, in turn; I hope this brings honour to you as graduates. You have ensured the viability of the kinds of costly courses which have developed the scientific expertise we now need as peoples of the world facing an indiscriminate virus. 

  But you have transformed the nature of our Universities in other ways too. Chinese students have helped enormously to be at the core of ideas and scholarship. Some of the most outstanding scholars I know are from China. I think of my friend Professor Xu from Tsinghua University whose warmth and humility almost conceal his great scholarship and humanity - listening to him describe the works of art on the caves in Dunhuang or his efforts to build a touch screen for the blind is a humbling and inspirational experience. And I remember as well speaking at length with my friend Chancellor Zhang, a scholar of Marx and one of the most thoughtful and decent men I have ever met. 

   If I can have these deep connections and bonds across national borders, so can you. Even a cruel virus can’t hold back the things we learn together as our own studies are illuminated by our neighbour’s light. 

  For indeed, the experience of the very best universities around the world Is that we make the greatest breakthroughs when we share knowledge and perspectives. Take a look inside the most prestigious laboratories and, to my joy, you will find Chinese scientists who first travelled to us as students working alongside their peers in a true spirit of enlightened cooperation. For surely we are better together. 

  I was so concerned that people did not appreciate the true nature of our global community of scholarship that I worked with students and universities to found the  #WeAreInternational campaign. I am even prouder that the campaign is going from strength to strength, led in the U.K. Council for International Students Affairs by a former student from Nanjing. 

  Now I see the truth of this campaign every day as I have the pleasure with working with early career scientist from across the world and discussing with them the problems of working in this new environment. What greater privilege, and some of these Fellows are of course from China, learning about how to make a difference so they can truly ‘serve the people’’

  Of course, one day I hope to once again do more than to simply write to my Chinese students. I look forward to seeing you in person just as you hope to resume your studies and your lives. I will be especially glad when my daughter-in-law in London can be reunited with her parents in Guangzhou, and my British-Chinese grandson can laugh in the arms of his adoring great-grandmother, because those who meet first as international students may sometimes even fall in love and build a life together. 

  But until that joyful day comes when I see Chinese students once again throng their streets of Oxford, I want to thank you again l from the bottom of my Scholar’s heart for what you have brought to the United Kingdom. Confucius’s words ring in my ears. You have brought his words to life in my land. Thank you. 

  Professor Sir Keith Burnett is Chair of the Academic Council of the Schmidt Science Fellows and was formerly the Head of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at The University of Oxford. 

 (谢菲尔德大学前校长凯思·博内特爵士是施密特科学研究员学术委员会主席,曾任牛津大学数学与物理科学学部主任。 供稿/驻英使馆教育处)

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