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Print Edition> Lifestyle
UPDATED: September 26, 2012 NO. 40 OCTOBER 4, 2012
Celebrate Together
CIPG and Yale University conclude first phase of a joint Sino-U.S. publishing project
By Tang Xiaotang

FIRST PHASE COMPLETED: (left to right) Director of Yale University Press John Donatich, CIPG President Zhou Mingwei, Yale University President Richard Levin, and UN Under Secretary General Joseph Reed attend the launch of the final volume of the Culture and Civilization of China series in New Haven on September 19 (JIANG YONGGANG)

Yale University Press (YUP) launched Chinese Silks on September 19. The book is the final volume of the Culture and Civilization of China series, a Sino-U.S. joint publishing project initiated by Yale and China International Publishing Group (CIPG) in 1990.

Zhou Mingwei, President of CIPG, led a Chinese delegation at the event.

At the ceremony, both sides reviewed the project's development, fully affirmed the years of fruitful cooperation, and reached consensus on further cooperation in more potential areas.

In his speech, Zhou said the Culture and Civilization of China series, hailed as the largest cooperative publishing effort between China and the United States, was supported and guided by several senior officials from the two countries. Top scholars, experts, publishers and translators from both countries and other parts of the world have been involved in the project. During the past 23 years, they conducted research and held discussions jointly; the authors wrote the books separately. They exchanged materials before the press approved and published them. This is the first time the U.S. and Chinese publishers have cooperated in such an undertaking.

Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University, said the Culture and Civilization of China was the most profound one among the cooperative projects the university had with China. The university cherished the cooperative tradition with CIPG, and hoped to promote the publication and launch of their latest joint effort I Speak Chinese, a multilingual Chinese-teaching book, on the basis of previous experiences.

In addition, a memorandum was signed by CIPG and Yale University on future cooperation.

Also in attendance was Ambassador Joseph V. Reed, Under Secretary General of the UN and the project's chief coordinator on the U.S. side; John Donatich, Director of YUP; John Ryden, former director of YUP; James C. Y. Watt, curator emeritus of the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and representatives of several cultural development foundations.

"The publishing effort was arduous and not without many differences and difficulties. It is a miracle that we published the volumes in such a cooperative manner," Reed said.

CIPG and YUP initiated the Culture and Civilization of China in the early 1990s. Since then, the cooperative publishing effort has been a focus in both countries' political, cultural and academic circles. Senior politicians including former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Chinese Vice President Rong Yiren, and former Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua were in charge of the consultant committees from both sides.

Over the past 20 years, it has launched 10 volumes—Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting, Formation of Chinese Civilization—An Archaeological Perspective, Chinese Architecture, Chinese Sculpture, Chinese Ceramics, The Art of Chinese Calligraphy, Chinese Seal, Key Concepts in Chinese Philosophy, Balanced Discourses and Chinese Silks—with nearly 20 versions in Chinese, English, Korean and other languages. The series has sold over 100,000 copies.

The launch of the series was highly recommended by academic and publishing circles as well as readers. Chinese leaders chose them as state gifts during visits to the United States. In 1997, then President Jiang Zemin gave his U.S. counterpart Bill Clinton Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. He also donated Chinese Architecture to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in 2002. President Hu Jintao donated Chinese Sculpture to the Yale University library in 2006.

Moreover, the series has won several awards. For instance, the English edition of Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting won the Hawkins Award, the highest publishing award presented by the Association of American Publishers. Chinese Architecture won a national book award presented by China's General Administration of Press and Publication in 2004. Chinese Sculpture was selected among The Best of the Best of the University Presses: Books You Should Know About by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), and also chosen as an outstanding title in the 2007 AAUP catalogue of university press books for public and secondary school libraries.

On August 28 this year, in a ceremony tied to the 19th Beijing International Book Fair, Reed and Levin won the Special Book Award of China presented by the Chinese Government. The national award, introduced in 2005, is given to foreign writers, translators and publishers with outstanding contributions to the promotion of Chinese culture to the world.

The writer is a special contributor for Beijing Review, reporting from New Haven

Email us at: liuyunyun@bjreview.com

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