Renwen Society

About Renwen Society

Since its founding in 1926, China Institute has been a “home away from home” for Chinese intellectuals living abroad. Distinguished May Fourth scholar Hu Shih, a one-time student of John Dewey’s at Columbia University, regularly lectured at China Institute. Writers and other cultural figures traveling to this country from China often stopped in New York to lecture at China Institute, sometimes in English but also in Chinese. This tradition was maintained for many years through the Institute’s summer program at Lake George.

In 2001, this tradition was revived in the form of a Saturday Lecture Series, which offers lectures in Chinese (sometimes bilingually) by prominent writers, actors, art collectors, and other experts in their fields. The lectures have attracted a wide range of audiences of native speakers and others fluent in Mandarin Chinese. Lectures are either in Chinese or with Chinese interpretation, covering all aspects of Chinese culture including poetry, literature, art, theater, history, language, archaeology, cinema, opera and religion.

In April 2003, the Renwen Society was established at China Institute as a new tier of the Institute’s membership program, co-chaired by Ho Yong and Ben Wang. Now integrated into the broader individual membership category, the Renwen Society offers weekend lecture series and other Chinese-language events. Today, Renwen Society continues to serve three important functions in New York’s rapidly expanding Chinese émigré community: it keeps immigrants in touch with their home country; it provides an open forum for speakers to discuss their ideas with compatriots; and it offers opportunities to both the Chinese immigrant community and students interested in China to hear the latest scholarly views on the culture, from classical to modern. Renwen programs are regularly covered in the Chinese press.


Renwen Society of China Institute presented a special program on Saturday, September 17, honoring Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao with Renwen’s first Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy.

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About Renwen Society (in Chinese)



《中國文化系列講座》至今已舉辦數百講,受到各界聽眾的熱烈歡迎。系列講座的主講人包括作家余秋雨、白先勇、劉心武、于丹、易中天、閻崇年、王安憶、莫言、舒乙 (老舍之子)、萬方 (曹禺之女)、鄭愁予、趙淑俠、董碧芳、孟絲、衛慧、棉棉、歐陽江河、俞淳;大學校長徐放鳴;醫學家何大一、學者翁萬戈、汪班、劉夢溪、金安平、王德威、商偉、李渝、王念祖、董鼎山、范毓周、周質平、楊皓、宣樹錚、姚學吾、張旭東、李弘祺、王海龍、吳以義、戴舫;表演藝術家濮存昕、倪萍、李谷一、齊淑芳、田浩江、李秀英、王洛勇、計鎮華、蔡政仁、劉燁、鄭佩佩、錢熠、沈鳳英、俞久林;音樂指揮姚學言;電影導演楊亞洲、胡安、寧瀛、姚樹華、秦劍;舞美設計王潮歌、樊躍;電影配音演員童自榮;畫家和鑒賞家王己千、張春和、愛新覺羅恒懿、方元、卓以玉、王振華、吳毅、劉昌漢;美術館長海蔚藍、許杰;刑事鑒證專家李昌鈺;外交家冀朝鑄;考古學家王巍、建筑學家楊鴻勛、段寶華、費菁、傅剛;企業家靳羽西、李學海;收藏家和古董家林輯光、丘小君、丘安妮等。

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Renwen Society Membership

Renwen Society is a membership group for people who wish to support our mission, and attend the Saturday afternoon lecture series, delivered in Mandarin Chinese, and other special Chinese language events.

All benefits are for one-year and for one adult; membership is 100% tax-deductible.

For information about membership, please contact the Membership Office at 212-744-8181, x158, or email [email protected]

Click here to see photos from Renwen Society events.

Individual $75 – 1 card