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First U.S. center for Silk Road studies opens at Berkeley

T

he Silk Road — an ancient

discoveries are revealing new

trade route connecting people

information,” he says.

and goods from the East and West — may conjure up

Home to leading specialists in the

images of camel caravans and bustling

region’s ancient languages, history,

bazaars. But this romantic picture is

religions, and intellectual and artistic

only a sliver of what life might have

traditions, Berkeley is a natural site for

been like.

the specialized center.

Berkeley is opening the P.Y. and

“It’s about coming together and poring

Kinmay W. Tang Center for Silk Road

over material from different sides,”

Studies, the first U.S. university center

says Sanjyot Mehendale, the center’s

dedicated to the diverse cultures that

inaugural chair. “You can’t just sit in

flourished along the networks, thanks

your corner of expertise. You have to

to a $5 million gift from Oscar Tang and

look at the art, study the texts, and

his wife, Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, Nadine

examine the archaeological remains to

Tang M.S.W. ’75, Leslie Tang Schilling

build a bigger picture.”

’76, and Martin Tang. Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, an honorary Oscar Tang says understanding China’s

advisor, wrote, “Emily Dickinson said,

past is key to understanding its growing

‘Forever is composed of nows,’ and

global importance today. “This small

George Santayana said, ‘Those who

investment … encourages the study

cannot remember the past are condemned

of Chinese humanities and how China

to repeat it.’ … You are truly joining the past, present, and the future.” ■

related to the rest of the world, at a time when significant archaeological

Pictured: Nadine Tang, Leslie Tang Schilling, Sanjyot Mehendale, Corinne Debain-Francfort, Agnes Hsu-Tang, and Oscar Tang. Photo: Peg Skorpinski

21

Promise of Berkeley June 2017  

Promise of Berkeley June 2017

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