On April 16th in Taipei the National Central Library of Taiwan and Taipei Ricci Institute inaugurated the new "Matteo Ricci Pacific Studies Reading Room" to commemorate Ricci's contribution to East-West cultural exchange. The vibrant ceremony is shown in the video above, and it was followed by Professor Nicolas Standaert's symposium: "Sino-European Displacements: The Circulation of Prints between Europe and China". Professor Standaert is one of the world’s foremost experts on cultural exchanges between Europe and China during the Late Ming and Early Qing dynasties.
Named after the famous Jesuit missionary, Matteo Ricci, over the last 50 years the Ricci Institute has been devoted to research in fields such as international Chinese Studies, comparative religion, and linguistics. The Institute is the compiler and publisher of Le Grand Ricci (a Chinese-French dictionary), and publisher of Renlai Magazine. During the process of compiling this dictionary, the Ricci Institute amassed a considerable number of books, particularly relating to linguistics, philosophy and the social sciences. In order to promote an atmosphere supporting academic research, and to allow many more people able to make full use of its collection, the Institute has permanently loaned them to the National Central Library. The Library possesses the ideal environment to house such a collection, with extensive experience in preserving and digitizing valuable historical documents and records to a professional standard. To fulfill the need to safely store and make available for reading the books entrusted to it by the Ricci Institute, the Library has established the Matteo Ricci & Pacific Studies Reading Room on the 6th floor.
At the same time, with the support of the library, the Council for Aboriginal Affairs and of individual scholars, the Taipei Ricci Institute is working towards the creation of a "Taiwan Society for Pacific Studies" that will become its main research outlet and focus. New research into language evolution suggests most Pacific populations originated in Taiwan around 5,200 years ago. The Austronesians arose in Taiwan around 5,200 years ago. Before entering the Philippines, they paused for around a thousand years, and then spread rapidly across the 7,000km from the Philippines to Polynesia in less than one thousand years. After settling in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, the Austronesians paused again for another thousand years, before finally spreading further into Polynesia eventually reaching as far as New Zealand, Hawaii and Easter Island. This cultural and linguistic history opens up compelling perspectives on the globalization process and on the challenges that humankind is now confronting.