Jews have had a long history in China, with the earliest groups arriving via the Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty, around the 8th Century, says Dr. Pan Guang, Dean of the Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai, the most influential research institute in China studying Judaism and Israeli affairs. Dr. Pan will deliver a lecture—Jews in China: Legends, History and New Perspective—at Sarah Lawrence College on February 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the Donnelley Theatre, Heimbold Visual Arts Center. The program is free and open to the public. For more information please call (914) 395-2412.
Dr. Pan, who has been conducting research and giving lectures widely in North America, East Asia, Russia, Central Asia, Europe, Middle East and Australia, holds a number of prestigious posts in Chinese institutions on International Studies, Asian Studies, Middle East Studies and Jewish Studies, is widely published, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.
His talk at Sarah Lawrence, which is presented in cooperation with the Westchester Jewish Council, will address the origins of the Jewish community in China and the arrival of waves of Jewish immigration including Sephardic Jewish merchants and businessmen with British citizenship following the Opium War in 1840-41 and the subsequent upsurge of trade with Britain; Ashkenazi Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Russia and Eastern Europe beginning in the 1880s and as a result of the Russo-Japanese War and Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917; and Jews seeking refuge from the Nazis.
Dr. Pan is the Director of, and Professor at, the Shanghai Center for International Studies and Institute of European & Asian Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. He is Director of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies Center and Dean of the Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai (CJSS), as well as Vice Chairman of the Chinese Association of Middle East Studies.
Appointed Ambassador of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in 2008, Dr. Pan is an International Council Member of the Asia Society (U.S.), Senior Advisor of the China-Eurasia Forum (U.S.), Advisory Board Member of the Asia Europe Journal in Singapore, and Senior Advisor on Anti-Terror Affairs to the Municipality of Shanghai and Ministry of Public Security of the PRC. He received the 1993 James Friend Annual Memorial Award for Sino-Jewish Studies, 1996 Special Award for Research on Canadian Jews from China. In 2004 Russian President Vladimir Putin presented him with the Sankt Peterburg-300 Medal for Contribution to China-Russia Relations. He was awarded the Austria Holocaust Memorial Award in 2006.