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CES Musings February 2009

An Amazing Invitation

By Herman Greene and the Institute of Hominology of Peking University

I received this amazing invitation in February (though it was dated December 1, 2008). It came from the Institute of Hominology of Peking University (the Harvard of China, also known as Beijing University).

Hominology is the study of human development from a Marxist perspective. This makes it all the more amazing that this conference is on “ecological civilization,” which is exactly the focus of the Center for Ecozoic Societies.

I doubt that the person who sent this invitation ever read Thomas Berry. Yet, I think those of us who have been influenced by Berry would have a hard time providing a better context for a conference. The invitation, as I received it, is set forth below. (Of course, I am not a professor and can only aspire to be an “excellency.”)

By the way, I’m going and will present a paper. They have invited a number of foreign scholars to participate in this conference. Those attending the conference will be professors and researchers.


Invitation for the International Symposium on Ecological Civilization

Institute of Hominology

Peking University

Beijing, 100871, P.R.C

Dear Professor Greene:

You are cordially invited to participate in the International Symposium on Ecological Civilization to be held in Sanya, Hainan, China from June 22nd to 24th, 2009.

The world of 21st century suffers from many increasingly serious global social problems: population explosion, resource shortage and depletion, environmental degradation, polarizing of rich and poor, etc. All these problems, together with the recently happened financial and economic crisis, pose unprecedented threats to the future of human race. Lots of scientists and scholars have reached consensus that ecological civilization is the only correct choice to continue human survival and development. But opinions differ on questions such as what ecological civilization is and how ecological civilization can come true. Now, thoughtful theoretical studies on ecological civilization is urgently needed, so that feasible measures can be put forth and consensus of international community can be reached, to promote the achievement of this goal.

Therefore, Center of Hominology of Peking University and China Society for Hominology, together with Publicity Office of CPC Hainan Provincial Committee and the Municipal Government of Sanya, initiate this International Symposium titled Ecological Civilization, Globalization and Human Development. Experts and scholars from China and other countries will be invited to this conference to discuss and exchange their views on the following topics:

1.Ecological civilization as a new stage of human civilization after the agricultural civilization and the industrial civilization;

2.Causes, trends and solutions of current environmental degradation and ecological crisis;

3.Relation between ecological and environmental problems, relation between marketization and globalization;

4.Ecological civilization as the only correct choice for humanity’s survival and development;

5.Preconditions thoughts and measures to achieve ecological civilization;

6.Ecological civilization and sustainable development of society;

7.Ecological civilization and people-oriented approach;

8.Ecological civilization and human equality, freedom, welfare and all-around development;

9. experiences of ecological civilization.

Your excellency, as renowned expert with great accomplishments and valuable insights in ecological civilization, are sincerely invited to attend the symposium. We are greatly delighted if the invitation is accepted. A short reply to this preliminary letter is desired so that we can send the formal invitation in April, 2009.

Thank you!

Sincerely yours,

Dean, Huang Nansen, Institute of Hominology, Peking University

President, Chen Zhishang, China Society for Hominology