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Roger Ames wins Confucius Culture Award

Roger T. Ames, professor of philosophy, received the Confucius Culture Award at the 2013 World Congress of Confucianism in Beijing. A beautiful new video documentary prepared by UH Mānoa’s Center for Chinese Studies celebrates Ames’ lifetime of scholarly achievement.

The “Confucius Culture Award” was established by the Ministry of Culture and the Shandong provincial government and is awarded at the World Congress of Confucianism – this time by the Vice-Governor of Shandong.  The selection for the award is made by a panel of 15 leading Confucian scholars, and comes with a cash prize of 100,000 RMB.

This year the award was given to Professor Ames and Li Xueqin, China’s most distinguished archaeologist from Qinghua University. Professor Ames is the first non-Chinese to receive the award.

Read Dr. Ames’ acceptance speech here.

In 2011, Kaunana magazine interviewed Ames for an article titled, “Updating Chinese classics and Western mindsets.”  An excerpt of the article is below:

Over the past four decades, tens of thousands of skyscrapers have sprouted in major Chinese cities as part of breakneck economic growth. While these glittering towers are a clear indication of economic progress, the building boom and rapid growth that fueled these projects also yielded a stunning array of archaeological finds from ancient China. Those finds include many never-before-seen copies of classic Confucian works and other writings of classical Chinese philosophy and thought. This was particularly significant because the philosophical tradition in China is dialogical as each subsequent generation adds its own thoughts to traditional texts. Researchers recovered silk texts, bamboo texts, and wood block texts in excavations. For Roger T. Ames, the confluence proved fortuitous.

A professor of Chinese philosophy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa and the former director of the school’s Center for Chinese Studies, Ames has used these finds to craft new translations into English that he believes better reflect the true essence and nuance of Chinese thought and belief. This is part of his life-long quest to bring about a better understanding of China in the West. “Most previous translations of great Chinese works were drafted by Missionaries or people living in China during the Missionary Era. This colored the works with thoughts that reflect the Christian lens through which the authors viewed the world rather than a more Confucian view that the original author likely held,” explains Ames. “For example, the idea of an individual God in Western Philosophy does not easily translate into the Eastern Idea of God as a more collective entity reflective of Chinese society.”

Read the full article here.

Read the UH Manoa Press Release on the Confucius Culture Award.