“The first Forum of Village Leaders and Township Heads in the New Era” was successfully held at the Zhuhai Campus of Beijing Normal University from June 16-18, 2023. The theme of the Forum is “Rural Revitalization and Chinese Style Modernization”. This is an important event in the field of rural revitalization. More than 280 village Leaders, township heads from all over China and some higher officials such as Julu Wang, former governor of Heilongjiang Province, director Ping Chen from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Bingsheng Ke, the former president of China Agricultural University, and Bin Li, deputy Mayor of the Zhuhai City, Shoujun Wang, Vice President of Beijing Normal University participated in the forum.
Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr., the Co-founding director of Center for Process Studies, who was called “Ecological Saint” in China, delivered an online keynote speech titled “China Should take the lead in Rural Revitalization” at this forum. Dr. Zhihe Wang, co-directer of China Project, Center for Process Studies, also delivered a speech titled “Rural Revitalization Calls for a ‘Retu Education’”.
As an important component of ecological civilization, rural revitalization has drawn more and more attention from Chinese society and even academia.Recently, Beijing Normal University, a top Chinese university for where I used to work as a professor, established a new school named “School of Village Leaders and Township Heads” in order to enhance rural revitalization. This Forum of Village Leaders and Township Heads is an important start.
Process scholar Prof. Haipeng Guo, director of the Whole Person Education Office of Beijing Normal University Hong Kong Baptist University United International College has made an important contribution to both the establishment of the school and the Forum in question.
As the only invited speakers from abroad, both Dr. Cobb and Dr. Wang emphasized not only the importance of rural revitalization, but also the urgent need of rural revitalization and ecological civilization for eco-persons. Modern education serving industrial civilization is an rootless education at root, which is away from nature and land. It has produced a great deal of working machines, consuming machines, and hollow persons. Ecological civilization calls for a new education which prepares eco-persons for the new civilization, who not only have feelings for nature, but also have the ability to creatively connect with local community and others since they possess ecological wisdom and deeply know the interdependence of all living things.
The voice from process scholars was highly appreciated at the forum. “Dr. Cobb and you raised the theoretical height of the forum.” Said Prof. Guo.
Meijun Fan, PhD
Co-director of China Project
Center for Process Studies