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Yoyo Chang
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Stanford e-China endowed me with a lifelong thinking-into-action mindset—Design Thinking. Over the ten weeks of the course, Stanford e-China (SeC) exposed our class of students to cutting-edge technologies touching many corners of global society: health tech, green tech, finance tech, artificial intelligence, and on and on. Sitting in front of our small display screens, we travelled miles and miles from different Chinese cities to meet at the door of Silicon Valley. Along this academically rigorous journey, the Design Thinking mindset braced our flight. At the same time, a spirit of collaboration pushed us further and higher, aided by the inspiring, personal stories of experts in various tech fields.

From friendly classmates to amiable instructors to prestigious professors, every individual in our SeC family was full of friendliness and insight, the key to the unceasing flow of energy that perpetuated the whole course. The program’s encouraging theme accentuated the spirit of “coopetition” between the world’s two tech giants: the United States and China. The reading materials that instructor Carey Moncaster helpfully provided strengthened my global awareness, delving into interesting U.S.–China “coopetitive” innovations in, for example, industrial (semiconductor chains) and green (renewable energy resources) technologies.

Another memorable takeaway was the spirit of the whole cohort. The class never ran out of questions and discussions. Each student being intellectually curious, we hit on meaningful questions that unveiled greater nuances about the topics; our patient and enthusiastic instructors and professors always provided rich explanations, juicing up the content with animated examples and demonstrations. Every one of us, students and teachers, was sincere and passionate about sharing personal perspectives and learning from each other. Without a doubt, the learning atmosphere of SeC boosted my confidence and engagement in academic discussions and highlighted the value of a cooperative, communicative classroom.

As a young girl who sometimes becomes directionless about the vast future waiting ahead, Design Thinking empowers me with confidence and control over my life.

Yet another high spot of the program was the exciting collaboration between our cohort and students from another course, the China Scholars Program (CSP). Before the collaboration session, it was intriguing to learn how Stanford supported students across the United States to probe into the Chinese cultural, social, and political contexts. Distanced miles apart over the Pacific Ocean, it was a golden opportunity for us, both American and Chinese students, to work together, cross-culturally, on the global issue of environmental sustainability. Despite the significant cultural gaps, it was inspirational and warming to find existing bonds among us: we have the unanimous aim as global citizens to protect Mother Planet and promote a spirit of collaboration. In fact, the clashes and exchanges of perspectives resulting from our social and cultural gaps fruitfully added to the diversity and progression of our ideas.

It was remarkable to see the universality of Design Thinking through the collaboration. On the one hand, the SeC cohort systematically studied and applied the different steps of Design Thinking, specifically in the scope of technological innovations. On the other hand, the CSP students closely examined the contemporary Chinese contexts, making it easy for American students to empathize with the Chinese group. Together, we devised different sustainable legislations and products, for example, pipe filter masks to reduce vehicle exhaust and fintech applications to manage crowds of people at recreation sites. The experience itself magnified the power and significance of empathy, an essential step of Design Thinking, in every problem’s solution.

At the end of the course, it was an honor that my final StressOFF project (which aims to reduce Chinese teenagers’ academic stress through a virtual assistant application) got acknowledged and helped identify me as one of the course’s honorees! The journey did not end there. Genuinely concerned about Chinese high school students’ academic anxiety, I assembled a couple of schoolmates who were also interested in the topic. Together, we entered and won a neuroscience business pitching competition with our PANHUG business proposal, a hugging machine product with multi-dimensional soothing functions. But the greater importance of Design Thinking came to me later.

Near the end of the course, Ms. Moncaster brought us the book Designing Your Life, by two Stanford professors, which added a new dimension to my understanding of the Design Thinking mindset. Design Thinking can be applied to more than technological innovations or the launching of business projects. It relates to undergraduate majors, work opportunities, health routines, and relationship management. Just as technological innovations integrate into every corner of society, Design Thinking lives in every corner of life. It was such a blessing for me to join Stanford e-China and plant a Design Thinking seed.

Design Thinking is the compass of life. It is a lifelong, human-centered mindset. As a young girl who sometimes becomes directionless about the vast future waiting ahead, Design Thinking empowers me with confidence and control over my life. It pushes me to actively feel and think, empathizing and formulating what I sincerely want to pursue. Design Thinking impels us to act.

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The following article is a guest post written by Yoyo Chang, an alumna and honoree of the Spring 2021 Stanford e-China Program. Currently, Yoyo is a junior at Shenzhen College of International Education in China.

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Thea Louise Dai
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The following article is a guest post written by Thea Louise Dai, an alumna of the Spring 2022 China Scholars Program. In April 2022, Thea met Wendy Wen, an alumna of the Spring 2022 Stanford e-China Program. Currently, Thea Louise is a junior at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California, and Wendy Wen is a junior at Beijing National Day School in Beijing, China.

In April 2022, I met Wendy Wen through a collaboration between the China Scholars Program (CSP) and Stanford e-China. Five months later, we are working together to prepare the first synchronous Zoom discussion at Project 17—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization we founded dedicated to initiating global dialogue through synchronous discussions about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

The CSP and Stanford e-China collaboration was no doubt my most stimulating academic experience to date. The two programs held four joint discussions on various climate issues over the course of several weeks. With the rare opportunity to bridge geographical and cultural divides, I finally had a chance to apply everything I had learned about China’s history, policies, and current events throughout the program in conversation with actual Chinese students, from whom I learned new perspectives. Although we only had to participate in one of the synchronous discussions, I found myself looking forward to each meeting and rearranging my schedule to attend all four.

The CSP and Stanford e-China collaboration was no doubt my most stimulating academic experience to date.

Wendy recalls that she had a similarly eye-opening experience during the meetings. She noted, “I have always believed that the world’s largest challenges can be solved through global collaboration. After every discussion with the CSP, I left feeling inspired to know that such collaboration is possible, even for high school students.”

After meeting each other through a breakout room conversation, we immediately connected on the need for a global discussion platform targeted towards youth perspectives. Essentially, we hoped to capture the value of our experience with SPICE, and we wanted to make it even more accessible and on a larger scale. We also wanted to clear a pathway for participants to take the next steps to create tangible change on the SDGs after our discussions.

As a result, we conceptualized Project 17 in part to partner with the chapter system of the United Nation Association of the USA (UNA-USA) so that high school and college students have the unique opportunity to connect with UNA-USA officials and members across the United States. Our vision is for all participants to be able to share their perspectives on the SDGs to inform the UNA-USA chapter system. We’re also working with Stanford e-China Instructor Carey Moncaster and CSP Instructor Tanya Lee of SPICE to publish the SDG-related research and reflections of participants on larger platforms.

Project 17 hosts four annual synchronous Zoom discussions, each focused on a particular group of SDGs: Planet, People, Prosperity, and Peace & Partnership. Our first discussion about the planet will take place in November 2022 and run for two hours. Interested students can complete the registration form on the Project 17 website to apply for an opportunity to hear from SDG advocates, learn from NGO leaders, and participate in breakout room discussions with youth leaders around the world. High school and college students based in any country are eligible to participate.

Project 17 discussion structure
Project 17 discussion structure; photo courtesy Thea Louise Dai

In the span of four months, Project 17’s outreach efforts have reached 51 cities, 47 schools, and five different countries. Participants will build connections with students from different backgrounds and develop a global mindset by engaging with new perspectives. In addition, participants can contribute to asynchronous discussion boards and the Project 17 blog, receive bimonthly newsletters about the SDGs, and receive certified service hours eligible for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

By incorporating these opportunities into our organization, we hope to create an experience similar to the invaluable experiences that Wendy and I had through the CSP and Stanford e-China. Inspired by SPICE’s impact, we are incredibly excited to start an initiative similarly promoting international and cross-cultural collaboration. Please note that Project 17 is not a Stanford SPICE program.

For more information, visit Project 17’s website (projectseventeen.org) or contact Project 17 at contact@projectseventeen.org.

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Applications opened today for the China Scholars Program (CSP), Sejong Korea Scholars Program (SKSP), and Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP) on Japan—three intensive online courses offered to high school students across the United States by SPICE, Stanford University. All three applications can now be viewed at https://spicestanford.smapply.io/. Interested students must submit their completed application (including an essay and letter of recommendation) by the October 31, 2022 deadline.

All three online courses are currently accepting applications for the Spring 2023 term, which will begin in February and run through June. Designed as college-level introductions to East Asia, these academically rigorous courses offer high school students the unique opportunity to engage in a guided study of China, Korea, or Japan directly with leading scholars, former diplomats, and other experts from Stanford and beyond.

Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the United States are eligible to apply to any of the three online courses. Students who are interested in more than one program can apply to two or three and rank their preferences on their applications; those who are accepted into multiple programs will be invited to enroll in their highest-preference course. High school students with a strong interest in East Asia and/or international relations are especially encouraged to apply.

“Some students who enroll in our online courses already have a solid foundation in East Asia, but many do not,” says Dr. Tanya Lee, instructor of the China Scholars Program. “What’s important is that they come with a curious mind and a willingness to work hard. We’re fortunate to be able to connect high school students with all kinds of scholars with expertise in China, Korea, and Japan, and we want our students to make the most of this opportunity.”

For more information on a specific online course, please refer to its individual webpage at chinascholars.org, sejongscholars.org, or reischauerscholars.org. The CSP, SKSP, and RSP are part of SPICE’s online student programs.


To be notified when the next application period opens, join our email list and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Evan Wright (front row, third from the right), Adriana Reinecke, RSP 2009 (first row, third from the left), and Monica, RSP 2013 (second row, third from the right) with the Reischauer Center staff in Mt. Vernon
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Subtitle: Students with a strong interest in East Asia or international relations are encouraged to apply. Applications are due October 31.

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Nathan Chan
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Stanford e-China has been an incredible academic experience from day one.

My journey with the program started with the interview, which was an enjoyable and memorable experience. I was greeted by a warm smile the moment I entered the Zoom room, and Ms. Carey Moncaster showed genuine interest in learning about me as a person. Rather than focusing on my experiences or achievements, she wanted to know more about my personality, interests, and dreams. Ms. Moncaster and the director of SPICE, Dr. Gary Mukai, have remained passionate advisors and generous mentors to many students even after the course, including me. Over the last year and a half, they were always there when I needed advice on how to proceed with a project or wisdom on dealing with a difficult situation.

The sense of community permeated the course itself, which was designed to be highly interactive. The expert speakers gave insightful lectures, followed by long sessions of Q&A. I can still remember my excitement at being able to ask Mr. Roy Ng, our fintech speaker, three questions after his seminar, where he explained how blockchain could help us reach the unbanked. In fact, my current obsession almost perfectly mirrors that topic—exploring how Central Bank Digital Currencies can help facilitate financial inclusion to mitigate inequality. That session made me realize that social entrepreneurship and tech-based solutions will be key players in upholding justice.

The Q&A was also a chance for my cohort to learn from each other. We bonded over our productive, collaborative, and enthusiastic discussions, and many of us stayed in touch after the course. Over the last year and a half, I have grown to be close friends with my fellow honoree, Jason Li. After meeting in person when he visited Shanghai, we decided to co-found a platform to connect students across the globe. Inspired by the diverse community of brilliant students we saw at Stanford e-China, we developed SPOT. The acronym stands for Student Projects Organized Together, and we hope to bring together an international network of passionate youth. We believe that together, we undertake global initiatives that make tangible impacts. Our website is www.spotaproject.com.

It is not every day that a course leaves such a significant impact, continuing to play a role in my life long after its conclusion.

Last but not least, e-China has helped me with my work in social justice. Design Thinking has not only aided in my endeavors with SPOT but also in my other initiatives, including the Law Association for Crimes Across History (LACAH) mock trial, where we put perpetrators of atrocities on the stand (lacah.net). Dora Gan from my e-China cohort is actually a member of our Youth Council! Design Thinkings methodical approach helped us scale up rapidly, and we were recently honored by the EARCOS Global Citizen Grant.

Throughout high school, I have learned a lot from a wide range of outstanding programs. I have also met many other fabulous peers through them. However, it is not every day that a course leaves such a significant impact, continuing to play a role in my life long after its conclusion. Stanford e-China is truly an exceptional experience. I am very thankful to have been a part of the first cohort.

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Announcing Stanford e-China, a New Stanford University Online Course for High School Students in China

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The following reflection is a guest post written by Nathan Chan, an alumnus and honoree of the 2021 Stanford e-China Program, which is accepting student applications until September 1, 2022.

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SPICE is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2022 term of the China Scholars Program, an intensive, college-level online course on contemporary China for U.S. high school students. The China Scholars Program (CSP) is open to rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders across the United States.

Stanford University China Scholars Program for high school students
Fall 2022 session (late August through December)
Application period: April 25 to June 15, 2022

Designed to provide high-achieving high school students a rich and comprehensive online learning experience, the CSP offers college-level instruction provided by scholars from Stanford University and other top-tier colleges and universities that is unparalleled in other distance-learning courses for high school students. During the synchronous virtual classroom sessions, students engage in live discourse with Stanford professors, leading scholars from other universities and organizations, and former diplomats. This unique opportunity to learn directly from noted scholars at the cutting edge of their fields is a distinctive element of the China Scholars Program. Students who complete the course will be equipped with a rare degree of expertise about China and international relations that may have a significant impact on their choice of study and future career.

“This program has been one of the most enriching and fun ones I’ve gotten the chance to participate in,” said Sana Pandey, a recent alum of the program. “I’m beyond grateful to have had the opportunity. Especially during the chaos of COVID and the initial phases of quarantine, CSP was an amazing anchor and a way to make sure I was intellectually engaged while the rest of the world seemed to stagnate. I honestly loved every second.”

More information on the China Scholars Program is available at http://chinascholars.org. Interested high school students should apply now at https://spicestanford.smapply.io/prog/china_scholars_program/. The deadline to apply is June 15, 2022.

To stay updated on SPICE news, join our email list or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


The China Scholars Program is one of several online courses offered by SPICE, Stanford University.


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Gary Mukai
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Under the leadership of Carey Moncaster (MA ’94) and Liyi Ye (MA ’16), Stanford e-China recently concluded its Spring 2021 session. Launched in Winter 2020, Stanford e-China, Technologies Changing the World: Design Thinking into Action, is offered twice annually and introduces high school students in China to cutting-edge technologies that are defining the future and providing exciting areas for academic study, professional opportunities, and entrepreneurial innovation. Focusing on the fields of green tech, finance tech, health tech, and artificial intelligence, students engage in live discussion sessions and real-time conversations with Stanford University scholars, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, as well as American high school students. Moncaster partners with Stanford e-China Advisor Liyi Ye and Ye’s team at Third Classroom in Shanghai.

A key challenge in developing Stanford e-China has been finding and refining a framework that encourages students to analyze the challenges facing each of the technologies highlighted in the course and then brainstorm innovative solutions. To showcase the dynamic research and teachings at Stanford University, Moncaster honed in on Design Thinking, a creative-thinking and problem-solving framework widely utilized throughout campus and Silicon Valley. Moncaster explained, “Design Thinking is a very hands-on, interactive, team-based experience that is dependent on critical feedback from other people. Translating the Design Thinking concepts online, with students, scholars, and practitioners virtually scattered across the world, presents an exciting opportunity to create curriculum that effectively introduces the relevant skills and mindset.”

For final projects, Stanford e-China students delve into an area of personal interest in one of the technology fields, applying aspects of the Design Thinking framework to develop a prototype pitch and action plan. Some of the sample projects have focused on improving the accessibility of digital healthcare for China’s rural residents, improving the mental health of Chinese students, utilizing solar energy at rural schools to provide electricity to students at night, and lowering carbon emissions at traditional power plants. Once it has been deemed safe to travel to the United States again, the top three students from each session will be invited to annual ceremonies at Stanford University. During the ceremonies, students will present their pitches and sharpen their Design Thinking skills with Stanford community members present.

Based on feedback from students, a highlight of Stanford e-China has been the chance to collaborate with American high school students studying about China and U.S.–China relations in SPICE’s China Scholars Program (CSP). With the support of CSP instructor Dr. Tanya Lee, the Chinese and American students work together in small groups on WeChat and Canvas to apply Design Thinking to an environmental challenge in their respective communities. In the process, they figure out how to bridge different time zones, tech resources, learning styles, and cultural perspectives.

Moncaster reflected, “Since Tanya, Liyi, and I are trying to cultivate future leaders in U.S.–China relations, we are hoping to increase the interaction between the students in Stanford e-China and the China Scholars Program. It has been fascinating to hear them discuss not only cutting-edge technologies but also how they can serve as change agents and address topics such as social inequality.” She continued, “Thanks to our inspiring guest speakers and the robust dialogue between my students and the CSP students, I am confident that many of my students have been inspired to become social entrepreneurs of the future. I also hope that some of my students will consider applying to Stanford as undergraduates or graduate students.”

Thanks to our inspiring guest speakers and the robust dialogue between my students and the CSP students, I am confident that many of my students have been inspired to become social entrepreneurs of the future.
Carey Moncaster

In terms of next steps, Moncaster and Ye hope to shift some of their attention to training schoolteachers in China—including the regular schoolteachers of their Stanford e-China students—via professional development seminars. SPICE Instructor Dr. Mariko Yoshihara Yang and Dr. Rie Kijima already offered one such seminar, which focused on Design Thinking. SPICE hopes to offer additional seminars to teachers in China on Design Thinking as well as other pedagogically focused strategies such as Project-Based Learning.

SPICE is seeking support to broaden its work with Stanford e-China, the China Scholars Program, and teacher professional development in China.

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Applications opened yesterday for the China Scholars Program (CSP), Sejong Korea Scholars Program (SKSP), and Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP) on Japan—three intensive online courses offered by SPICE, Stanford University, to high school students across the United States. All three applications can now be viewed at https://spicestanford.smapply.io/. Interested students must submit their completed application (including an essay and letter of recommendation) by the deadlines listed below.

Spring 2022 Online Course Application Deadlines
China Scholars Program: November 1, 2021
Sejong Korea Scholars Program: October 15, 2021
Reischauer Scholars Program on Japan: October 15, 2021

All three online courses are currently accepting applications for the Spring 2022 term, which will begin in February and run through June. Designed as college-level introductions to East Asia, these academically rigorous courses present high school students the unique opportunity to engage in a guided study of China, Korea, or Japan directly with leading scholars, former diplomats, and other experts from Stanford and beyond. High school students with a strong interest in East Asia and/or international relations are especially encouraged to apply.

“The students who enroll in our online courses are usually seeking an intellectual experience that goes beyond the normal classroom,” says Dr. HyoJung Jang, instructor of the Sejong Korea Scholars Program. “They have a hunger to learn. We’re blessed at Stanford to have access to renowned academics and practitioners who have expertise in Korea, Japan, and China, and are willing to share their expertise directly with high school students.”

Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the United States are eligible to apply to any of the three programs. Students who are interested in more than one program can apply to two or three and rank their preferences on their applications; those who are accepted into multiple programs will be invited to enroll in their highest-preference course.

For more information on a specific course, please refer to its individual webpage at chinascholars.org, sejongscholars.org, or reischauerscholars.org. The CSP, SKSP, and RSP are part of SPICE’s online student programs


To be notified when the next application period opens, join our email list and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Students with a strong interest in East Asia or international relations are especially encouraged to apply.

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On August 7, 2006, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and staff of Silkroad joined Stanford Professor Emeritus Albert Dien and the SPICE staff at the Art Institute of Chicago to offer the first of eight seminars on the Silk Road for teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. Dien spoke about the history of the Silk Road dating from the Han Dynasty, 206 BCE–220 CE. I recall many teachers commenting about what a youthful 79-year-old he was. Today marks the 94th birthday of Dien, and on June 29, 2021, SPICE had the honor of hosting his last lecture—focused on Chinese dynasties—which he gave to an audience of middle school teachers from across the United States. Several Chinese teachers were also in attendance with one participating from China. Once again, many of the teachers commented on how youthful he was.

 

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Liu Ding

Dien set the context of his lecture by noting that “In ancient China, there was a three-legged vessel type called the ding. Such tripod cauldrons made in bronze were among the most important shapes used in rituals.” Dien used the ding [image at right] as the symbol of his three-part talk, which he divided into “The Dynasty,” “Confucius and the Classics,” and “The States.” 

 

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Al and Dora

As he has done countless times for SPICE’s teacher seminars, Dien made the extremely complex topic of Chinese dynasties accessible and fascinating. Dien kindly provided SPICE with permission to share his lecture notes with the teachers in attendance. For teachers who seek to incorporate his scholarship into their teaching, Dien's lecture notes can be downloaded here.

[Image at Left: Professor Emeritus Albert Dien with wife, Dora Shu-fang Dien]

The praise from teachers for Dien’s lecture was effusive. One of the teachers in attendance commented, “Thank you, Professor Dien, for the privilege of participating in your last presentation. I could listen to you forever. I enjoyed the organization of your thinking and the many tidbits you threw in that helped us relate to the broader concepts at play. Your notes will be very helpful, and I am grateful you were willing to share them.” Another noted, “Today’s session was highly informative! I admit that I have been sorely remiss in teaching about China in my social studies class—really, East Asia in general, which is why I am here and gratified to be learning so much. It was bittersweet to hear that we will be the recipients of Dr. Dien’s final lecture. He has so much to tell, and I do hope he will continue to tell it, even if informally.”

Dien served as the primary advisor for SPICE’s two-part curriculum series on Chinese dynasties, which was authored by Selena Lai and Stefanie Orrick Lamb. Jonas Edman introduced the series following Dien’s lecture. Edman noted, “The series helps to bridge academic scholarship on the Chinese dynasties such as Professor Dien’s and classrooms.” Chinese Dynasties, Part One introduces students to the first 2,500 years of Chinese history and offers students an in-depth view of Chinese civilization from the nascent years of the Shang Dynasty through the golden age of the Tang Dynasty. Chinese Dynasties, Part Two continues the exploration of dynasties, offering students an in-depth view of Chinese civilization from the Song Dynasty to the fall of the Qing Dynasty and the end of the entire dynastic system. Dien is a foremost expert on the Six Dynasties Period, 220 CE–589 CE. His book, Six Dynasties Civilization, was published in 2007.

Dien’s last lecture was part of a four-day seminar that was organized by Edman and Sabrina Ishimatsu and co-sponsored by the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia and Stanford’s Center for East Asian Studies.

The SPICE staff and SPICE teacher community extend a happy 94th birthday to Professor Dien and thank him for his many decades of teaching and unwavering support of SPICE. Given his youthfulness, we hope that he changes his mind and offers another lecture next year.

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On June 29, 2021, Stanford Professor Emeritus Albert Dien, East Asian Languages and Culture, delivered his last lecture.

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