SOURCE: Tang Prize Foundation

June 19, 2016 23:42 ET

U.S. Leading Scholar of Asian Thought Awarded the 2016 Tang Prize in Sinology

TAIPEI, TAIWAN--(Marketwired - Jun 19, 2016) - In a press conference from its office in Taiwan, the Tang Prize announced today the 2016 Tang Prize in Sinology, which is the study of China and its related fields. William Theodore de Bary, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, was named as the sole recipient this year "for his pioneering contributions in Confucian studies." The award includes a cash prize of US$1.24 million. In addition to the cash prize, a grant of approx. US$311,000 is awarded per category.

William Theodore de Bary is the former Provost of Columbia University and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture. In his academic career, which spans over seven decades, he has written and edited many ground-breaking works that provide enlightening insights into Confucianism. His masterpieces have centered around two major themes, the first being the discussion of the history and evolution of the Cheng-Zhu school of Neo-Confucianism. His second major theme focuses on the Confucian emphasis on the individual and freedom, advocating that Confucianism is by no means an obstacle to modernization and is instead the core foundation of culture across East Asia.

De Bary has headed numerous academic projects including the translation and compilation of various texts. Students and scholars in the field of East Asian studies have all greatly benefited from his 1960's Sources of Chinese Tradition, in which he translated and annotated a vast number of Chinese classics and texts. This mainstay of Sinological studies offers a thorough portrayal of different aspects of the social, political, intellectual, and cultural traditions of China to the English-speaking world.

Besides pointing out the vibrant history of Confucian and Indian traditions, de Bary also holds an open and multicultural outlook, where he encourages a dialogue between different cultures as the best way to showcase the value of human rights of civil society and resolve key issues facing the world today. He believes that, in a chaotic world, there is no other better remedy than encouraging dialogue and exchange.

Serving as a bridge between Confucian traditions and the modern world, Professor de Bary is a rare exemplar of a scholar known not only for his monumental scholarship and leadership in the field of Confucianism but also for his unflagging dedication to renewing and realizing a great civilized conversation to iron out differences and foster mutual understanding. Even now in his nineties, he continues to publish works that reflect his commitment to addressing key questions that face humanity.

Founded in 2012 by Samuel Yin, the Tang Prize awards achievements in four categories: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. The newest round of awardees will be announced live streaming on June 18-21, 2016, and will receive the medal, diploma, and cash prize at the award ceremony on September 25 in Taipei.

About Tang Prize
Dr. Samuel Yin, chairman of Ruentex Group, founded the Tang Prize in December of 2012 as an extension of the supreme value his family placed on education. Harkening back to the golden age of the Tang Dynasty in Chinese history, the Tang Prize seeks to be an inspiring force for people working in all corners of the world. For more information on the Tang Prize and its laureates, please visit

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