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Professor Yih-yuan Li, Former Chairman of the Foundation, has Passed Away

Apr 20, 2017

The Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation is grieved to announce that its former Chairman, Professor Yih-yuan Li passed away on April 18, 2017 at the Taipei Medical University Hospital due to complications from pneumonia. He was 87 years old.

Through the years, Professor Li earned a sterling reputation as a gentleman and a scholar of profound integrity. In 1984, he was elected as Academician at Academia Sinica, and in the same year helped found the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at National Tsing Hua University, serving as its Dean for six years. An internationally-renowned anthropologist, he devoted his life to teaching and research, amassing numerous publications while helping the nation train a future generation of scholars. His 40 years of ethnographic experience resulted in the formation of new theoretical models for the study of traditional Chinese culture, which are still cited by scholars today.

Professor Li also dedicated himself to academic administration, based on his vision for the promotion of Chinese Studies worldwide. He led the Foundation from its establishment in 1989 until his retirement in 2010, serving four terms as President and then as Chairman for three terms. Under his leadership, the Foundation developed into an active and prestigious scholarly organization, with Professor Li serving as a guiding force in terms of establishing a sense of direction and the mechanisms for achieving its goals, while also working to promote international scholarly exchange and establish overseas sinological centers. His unstinting efforts helped contribute to Taiwan’s presence on the global academic stage.

Professor Li earned numerous honors in recognition of his deeds, including honorary doctoral degrees from the Sorbonne, Griffith University, and The Chinese University of Hong Kong, as well as awards for outstanding scholarly contributions from Charles University and Heidelberg University. The government of the Republic of China recognized his achievements as well, bestowing on him the Order of Brilliant Star and National Culture Award. One particularly memorable occasion was the presentation of an honorary degree by National Tsing Hua University, with the ceremony being presided over by five of its current and former presidents.

The Foundation’s mission is to adhere to the highest principles of scholarly merit in supporting the study of Chinese civilization by leading researchers throughout the world. Professor Li’s many contributions towards the achievement of these goals will always be remembered. The Foundation mourns his passing, while cherishing his record of achievement as a source of inspiration for the future.

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