The Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS) held a High Table Dinner on 28 March. Head of the Department of Humanities and former President of the Hong Kong Academy of Humanities Professor John Erni was the honoured speaker for the event, discussing whole person education.

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The High Table Dinner distinguished guests

The Dean of DHSS Prof Mei-Hwa Sung, gave an opening speech, in which she expressed a warm welcome to the guests and introduced the importance of the High Table Dinner for achieving educational objectives, developing social skills and gaining students’ insight from the speakers. She delivered her best wishes for the students to expand the vision through the speech and communication tonight.

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Dean of DHSS Prof Mei-Hwa Sung explains why the High Table Dinner is important to students

In his speech, Prof John Erni used his books and photos as an introduction to his new understanding of Whole Person Education. He raised a question, “How do we inhabit personhood in an open manner, acknowledging that incompleteness is a gift?” He mentioned that ‘the open’ is an experiment and encouraged the audience to experience the world by knowing the limitation and exposing themselves to the strangers.

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Prof John Erni encourages students to experience the world

To explain his point of view further, Prof Erni displayed some pictures that were drawn by kids of different ages about the sky. This was to demonstrate how the world is shaped by both the firsthand experience and the social and cultural framework.

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The audience listens to Prof Erni

“The development of the ‘whole person’ demands our ability to navigate among the boundedness of society, the groundedness of our lived experience, and the openness of a seemingly infinite horizon and this horizon moves by the strangers,” he said.

Year One International Journalism student, Wei Xiaojing, asked the professor’s opinion about what a ‘whole person’ means and what he thinks of the whole person education at UIC. Prof Erni answered enthusiastically. He believed there is not a complete person but it is possible to create the whole society. He thought highly of the education at UIC and wishes the students can integrate into the society one day in the near future.

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Students asking questions

After the speech, a piano and violin duet performed by Ma Qianqi and Ou Yuzhen began. This was followed by the dinner and a toast to end the night.

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Students perform for the audience

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Prof Sung and Prof Erni exchange sourvenirs

Reporter: Deng Bowen (Y1, IJ)
Photographer: Liang Jianhao (Y4, IJ)
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Marissa Furney
(from MPRO)