Archived Events

How and Why Language Learning is Useful in China Careers: A Conference Sponsored by Princeton in Beijing, the East Asian Studies Program at Princeton University

October 22 – October 23, 2016
10 Guyot Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544-1008

There is wide agreement that language is the gateway to culture; that the better one is at a second language, the more natural, and effective, communication in it will be; and that the more two languages differ, the more important it is to cross the divide.  But exactly why is this so?  Exactly what are the benefits, in various kinds of cross-cultural work, of getting good at a language?  These questions have not, at least for the case of Chinese, been carefully studied, and may also not have been adequately appreciated.  The professional journals in the Chinese language teaching field contain much about how to analyze language, how to teach it, and how to test results, but almost nothing on why language learning matters later on in life.  The purpose of this conference is to address this question, for academics, as well as for people in business, journalism, government work, and elsewhere.

Download and view the Conference Program.

Panel Members

Academic Humanities
Julia Andrews, Art History, The Ohio State University
James Hargett, Literature, SUNY Albany
Perry Link, Literature, University of California, Riverside
Anna Shields, Literature, Princeton University

Gregory Gilligan, Managing Director PGA Tour (Professional Golf Association) for Greater China
Thomas Gorman, Chair and Editor-in-Chief, FORTUNE China
Geoff Ziebart, former President, China for Crane Company

Peter Hessler, The New Yorker
Ian Johnson, The New York Times
Melinda Liu, Newsweek
Mary Kay Magistad, NPR

Law and Political Science
Ira Belkin, New York University
Donald Clarke, George Washington University
Rory Truex, Princeton University

Government Work
Bill Bikales, United Nations (retired)
Owen Fletcher
James Gadsden, US State Department (retired)
Julian Smisek, US State Department 


Liu Lening, Columbia University
Sun Chao-fen, Stanford University
Zhu Yongping, Notre Dame University 


Chou Chih-ping, Princeton University
Perry Link, University of California Riverside
Henry Zhao, Princeton in Beijing