With the globalization of the world, the contact and interaction among different countries and their people have never been as intense as today. However, in the process of narrowing the distance and breaking the boarder among human beings, conflicts, misunderstanding, and contradiction are still highly prevalent. The ideal of achieving harmony while embracing the differences is still out of our reach.
Nowadays, ethnographic fieldwork, rather than evanescent sightseeing and investigation, is still the effective means to eliminate misunderstandings and frictions in cross-cultural communications. Only through long term residence in different societies with an open mind, could we experience the others’ cultural mechanism, their mind and humanity, hence mutual understanding and respect.
As Chinese anthropologists, ethnologists, and sociologists, we are pioneered in this era to go abroad and study other nations, ethnicities and societies with the concepts, theory and methodology, which will strengthen the relationship among various cultures. This is not only the calling of the new development of globalization, but also an important step for Chinese intellectuals to achieve cultural consciousness.
“Unity” and a peaceful world do not necessarily mean homogeneity. Understanding others does not mean eliminating our selfhood. On the contrary, a better understanding of others will undoubtedly help us understand ourselves. So overseas ethnographic experiences will enable us to examine and analyze Chinese ethnicity, society and culture from a new perspective, while simultaneously generating and juxtaposing thoughts of equilibrium in diversity and unity cherished not only by Chinese people but the people all over the world.
China is pushing forward a new round of reform and striving to build a modern and prosperous society, it also aims at integrating into the international system, while at the same time shouldering more responsibility as one of the strong nations. Our institute was established under such context and dedicated to our academic mission in understanding various ethnicities and societies, and in the meanwhile generates our own voice of concern toward humanity in the international arena. We sincerely hope to cooperate with academic colleagues at home and abroad to lead the Chinese ethnology, anthropology, sociology research stepping toward world from here.