July 31, 2008
Over 300 people gathered to hear Yu Dan speak on Confucianism and its role in contemporary Chinese life at UCLA's Fowler Museum. Yu Dan’s visit to UCLA was the last stop on a 5-city US tour that included talks at Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Washington and Stanford University. The tour was sponsored by The China Press, the 3rd largest Chinese language newspaper in the United States.
A professor and associate dean at Beijing Normal University, Yu Dan became an overnight media star in China when her lectures on Confucianism aired on CCTV’s primetime show, Lecture Room. In her broadcasts Yu Dan combined teaching on early Chinese thought with personal antidotes illustrating its relevance to contemporary life. Her message, delivered in a dynamic yet personable style, soon made her a household name in China. From the show’s transcripts, Yu Dan published, Yu Dan’s Reflections on ‘The Analects’ (于丹《论语》心得), which remains at the top of China’s bestseller list with over 4 million copies sold.
Attending her talk were UCLA faculty and students, visiting students from China, and members of the local Southern California community. The audience responded well to Yu Dan’s exceptional oratorical skills, her dynamic stage presence, and insightful commentary. Without the aid of notes, Yu Dan delivered a fast-paced, 2-hour talk in which she quoted extensively from classical philosophy and poetry texts. Following her presentation, Yu Dan stayed to sign copies of her book and pose for photographs with attendees. The feedback received on Yu Dan’s talk was very positive with several audience members commenting that it was the best talk that they had attended in a long time.
Professor Yu Dan’s lecture at UCLA was presented by the UCLA Confucius Institute and The China Press in collaboration with the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, the Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library, the UCLA Asia Institute, and the USC U.S.-China Institute.