International conference ‘Mobility and Transformations: New Directions in the Study of the Mongol Empire’ held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
From June 29th to July 4th, 2014, the international conference ‘Mobility and Transformations: New Directions in the Study of the Mongol Empire’ was held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This conference was hosted by Prof. Michal Biran, Research Fellow of the Confucius Institute at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Prof. Kim Hodong from Seoul National University in South Korea. A total of over 50 scholars and experts from the US, Israel, Canada, Japan, Germany, Chinese Mainland, Russia, Mongol, France, the UK, Hungary and Cyprus attended this conference.
Experts from all over the world attending this conference
As part of the European Research Council (ERC) program “Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia”, this conference also received support from Israeli Science Foundation and Israeli Institute of Advanced Studies. This was also the first time for the research-oriented Confucius Institute at Hebrew University of Jerusalem to co-organize a major international academic conference. Since research into the Mongol Empire always involves various cultures, regions and languages, it is a difficult subject in academic studies. However, in the time of globalization, it is of special practical significance to investigate the exchange and integration between the East and the West in this unique period of history.
During the conference, various topics in this field of study were presented by the scholars, including the bureaucratic establishment in Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-1368), the integration of the Mongolian nomadic culture ]with the Chinese Confucian culture and Taoist culture, the interaction between Chinese calendar and Arabian astronomy, and the influence of policies by Yuan Dynasty on Medieval Japan. To the participants of this conference, the talks given by the scholars outlined an inspiringly grand picture of cultural exchange in the past. After the conference, organizers arranged an exploration tour to the site of the Ain Jalut Battle. There, Prof. Reuven Amitai, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, offered a vivid explanation of this battle, which provided the participants with a direct understanding of the Mongolian cavalry’s greatest fiasco in their conquest of the West.
Prof. Reuven Amitai explaining the Ain Jalut Battle at the historic site
This conference also served as a platform for young scholars to showcase themselves. A total of more than 20 Ph.D. and postdoctoral students in the field of Mongolian studies from top universities all over the world presented their own research in the new Poster Session and conducted exchanges with the scholars of this conference. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem attached great importance to this conference. Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the University, came to the Poster Session and delivered a speech to encourage these future academic leaders to make contributions to the research and cultural exchange of the world.
Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the University, attending the conference and delivering a speech to the participants
By successfully organizing the high-level conference of Mongolian studies, the Confucius Institute at Hebrew University of Jerusalem not only expands its reputation and international influence, but also presents the development of Mongolian studies in China to scholars all over the world, which sets a good example for the diversified development of research-oriented Confucius institutes.
By Wang Yu