On 2 December 2016, the Department of Chinese Studies, FASS, NUS, celebrated the opening of the Wan Boo Sow Centre for Chinese Culture. The Centre was set up to actively promote in-depth cultural research by both local and overseas scholars, and to raise research efforts and output in Chinese culture to a higher level in order for NUS to establish itself as a leading institution in the field in Asia and beyond. Through visiting fellowships, it seeks to attract renowned scholars to Singapore to conduct interdisciplinary research with academics both in and outside the Department of Chinese Studies.
In his speech during the opening ceremony, Guest-of-Honour, Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office & Ministry of Manpower, said he hopes that the setting up of this new research centre for Chinese culture will strengthen the bilateral cooperation between Singapore and other countries, in addition to encouraging exchanges between academics and non-academics. He added that NUS’ facilities, and bilingual and bicultural advantage will enable it to become an international centre for Chinese cultural studies.
The Centre is named in honour of the late Mr Wan Boo Sow (1918-1992), a pharmacist in the 20th century. Born and bred in Singapore, Mr Wan obtained a Diploma in Pharmacy from the then-King Edward VII College of Medicine, before starting his own pharmacy along High Street. Mr Wan recognised the importance of education and his children—upholding their late father’s view—contributed generously to the set-up of this Centre.
To mark its official opening, the Centre organised an inaugural conference on the 2 and 3 December 2016. The conference had six panels reflecting the current research focus of the six research clusters in the Department of Chinese Studies. Professor Benjamin Elman of Princeton University and Professor Ge Zhaoguang of Fudan University were the keynote speakers for the conference. More than 20 preeminent scholars from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Peking University, Xiamen University, University of London, University of Manitoba etc., presented their research outcomes in the field of Chinese history, literature, culture and linguistics.