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【黉门新语】我们的老朋友:麦克菲博士

2019-01-03 11:10   来源:湖南师范大学新闻网   作者:蒋洪新   点击:

我们的老朋友:麦克菲博士

蒋洪新

作者与麦克菲博士合影

麦克菲博士多次受邀前往湖南师范大学进行学术交流

“海内存知己,天涯若比邻。”我与西德尼·麦克菲博士是相交多年的朋友了。十多年前,经校友郑冠平博士引荐,麦克菲博士首次到访湖南师范大学,并由我主持他的讲座。我记得,他当时演讲的主题是关于中美高等教育比较的,也谈到了他对中国的认知、体验和热爱,演讲深受学生们喜爱。他真诚开朗、学识渊博、谈笑风生,尤其令我惊叹的是,他对中国文化十分熟悉,且富有远见卓识。那次愉快的会见不仅促成了我校与中田纳西州立大学的友好合作,也开始了我与麦克菲博士之间的真挚友谊。所以,当他邀我为他的新书作序时,我欣然答应了。

麦克菲博士于2001年就任中田纳西州立大学第10任校长,是最有影响力的50位非洲裔美国人之一。麦克菲博士曾与美国前总统奥巴马先生有过一对一的会面,对此他一直引以为傲。在担任校长早期,由美国前总统乔治·W·布什提名,参议院任命麦克菲博士为美国国家人文基金会成员之一。凭借他的高瞻远瞩,他花了近20年之功,把一所地区性的高校打造成了美国颇有影响力的综合性大学,还培养了多位诺贝尔奖获得者。我多次应邀访问中田纳西州立大学,每次都发现它又有了惊人的变化。我为麦克菲博士和中田纳西州立大学有今天的成就感到振奋。

麦克菲博士热爱摄影,喜欢与朋友们分享他的摄影作品。1999年,他第一次来到中国,迄今已到访中国150多个地方。他经常举办摄影展,将中国如诗如画的风景、传统与现代交相辉映的建筑、美味丰富的中式烹饪以及热情、善良、友好的人民介绍到世界各地。2012年,他精选200张摄影作品,在湖南美术出版社出版了《一位美国校长眼中的中国》一书,精彩呈现了一个正在崛起的、自信地融入世界的中国的风采,受到了国际社会的广泛好评。

麦克菲博士说,他非常喜欢中国人民的微笑、善良和自信。为了更加深入、生动地表现中国,这次他将镜头对准了中国不同地区的不同少数民族,他用镜头拍下了一个又一个美丽的中国形象:拉萨藏民朝圣者虔诚的祈祷、湘西苗族群众热情的迎客酒、广西侗族的百人大餐,以及其他少数民族的风土人情。他不仅作为一名观察者去记录,还充满好奇地尽情去体验。上黄山,他替搬运工挑担子;肩有不适,他去做艾灸拔火罐;看演出,他上台去扮演角色;他品过山区的茶,喝过村民的酒。可以说,他的每张照片背后都有一个中国故事,讲述了他对中国少数民族的理解,对中国民族文化的热爱,向世人呈现了一个“创造伟大奇迹”的当代中国。我为麦克菲博士的倾情付出感到由衷的钦佩。

麦克菲博士在书中引述道,图像的表现力胜于文字。我想他的意思是说,一件艺术作品只有表现了人类最基本的感情,才能够成功地感动观众和读者。我认为,麦克菲博士的摄影作品不仅展示了中国各地的民族文化和风土人情,同时还表达了更加深刻的内涵:虽然每个人是如此地与众不同、独具特色,但栖居在同一星球上的我们却有着共同的希冀:仁爱、和平与幸福。

谨以为序。

本文系为美国中田纳西州立大学校长麦克菲博士新书《中国少数民族——一位美国校长的摄影之旅》所作的序言

As a Chinese poem goes, “So long as we remain friends in the heart, we will feel like neighbors though East and West apart.”Dr. Sidney McPhee and I have been friends for many years. About ten years ago, introduced by Dr. Zheng Guanping, Dr. McPhee made his first visit to Hunan Normal University, and I presided over his lecture on the comparative study of Chinese and American education. In the lecture, he shared his understanding, experience and love of China. As expected, the lecture was enthusiastically received by the students. At that time, he gave me the impression of being sincere, cheerful, erudite and jovial with amazing insights and great familiarity with the Chinese culture.That pleasant meeting not only contributed to the subsequent friendly cooperation between Hunan Normal University and Middle Tennessee State University, but also the precious friendship between us. So when he requested a foreword from me for this book, I accepted with great honor and pleasure.

As one of the 50 most influential African-Americans, Dr. McPhee became the 10th President of Middle Tennessee State University in 2001. President McPhee has had the honor and privilege to have met former President Barack Obama in a one-on-one setting which has been one of the highlights of his life. Early in his career as President, he was nominated by former President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a member of the Council for the National Endowment of Humanities. With his outstanding horizon and perspective, he successfully forged MTSU, a regional university, into a comprehensive and influential university over 20 years, during which the university fostered several Nobel Prize winners. With each of my many official visits to the MTSU, I was able to see amazing changes there. The outstanding achievements he and the MTSU made together over the years are definitely stimulating.

He is also a passionate photographer who loves to share his photos with friends. Since his first trip to China in 1999, he has travelled to more than 150 places in China, ranging from metropolitan cities to remote villages. At his photo exhibitions, people all over the world could see the beautiful landscapes, architectures combined with tradition and modernity, the diversity of Chinese gourmet food as well as the friendly and warm-hearted Chinese people. A book with his 200 photographs titled China: Through the Eyes of an American University President, featuring the splendor of a rising and confident China going to the world, was published in July 2012 by Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House, which was warmly received internationally.

Dr. McPhee told me that he liked the smiles, kindness and confidence of the Chinese people. To provide a representation of China with new vigor and depth, his camera lens focused on different ethnic minorities in different regions of the country, weaving a tapestry of China: the Tibetan worshipers’ prostrating, the heart-warming welcome wine tasting ceremony of the Miao people in the western Hunan Province, the 100-person-feast of Dong people in Guangxi Autonomous Region along with many other customs and practices of other Chinese ethnic minorities. Over the trips, he was more than an observer or recorder, but instead, he actively experienced different cultural practices: at Mount Huang, he shouldered the loaded carrying pole for the porter; he tried acupuncture and cupping when he suffered from the discomfort in the shoulder; he volunteered to play a role on the stage when watching a performance; he tasted the tea and wine prepared by the people in different regions. We can see, with each photo, there is a story about China, speaking to the readers his understanding of the Chinese ethnic minorities and his love of the Chinese ethnic cultures, and presenting a contemporary China “creating great miracles”. I admire his devotion to the undertaking from the bottom of my heart.

As Dr. McPhee writes in this book, the power of a picture can be worth thousands of words. I believe, what he wants to express here, is that only when a work of art conveys the most basic feelings and emotions of humankind can it touch the hearts of its audience and readers.So I think Dr. McPhee’s photographic work not only presents the peoples and cultures of ethnic minorities in China, but also carries a message with a deeper meaning: despite the unique and special qualities of each individual, we all share as fellow inhabitants of the same planet the same longings for kindness, peace and happiness.

(By: Dr. Jiang Hongxin, Professor, PhD. Supervisor and President of Hunan Normal University)

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