GIBRAN IN CHINA
On November 24th 2013 the Peking University as part of their annual Middle Eastern
Literature conference celebrated the 130th anniversary of Kahlil Gibran with a
conference bringing together academics from across China.
Mr. Glen Kalem an executive member of the newly founded Kahlil Gibran Global
Forum also made the journey from Sydney Australia to be part of this celebrated
Mr Kalem’s visit marks the first ever by any western scholar of Gibran. His aim was
to bridge the cultural and academic gap that has been in place since the earliest of
Gibran translations in the 1920’s, whilst also promoting a healthy and on-going
dialogue between Gibran scholars of China and the west, where most of the study and
research has been the focus within the last 90 years.
Peking University is the academic and spiritual home of Gibran in China with
translations dating back to the 1920’s. The University oversaw the earliest translations
made by well-loved and respected Chinese artists and academics. In fact, Gibran’s
poetry in China is ranked as the second official translation of any Arabic literature,
(excluding non-religious translations.) The first was “ a thousand and one nights’
translated in the 1890’s.
The first to translate a selection of his works in 1923 was the much famed and
respected novelist Moa Dun also known by his pen names, Shen Yanbing or Shen
Dehong. It wasn’t however until 1931 when Professor Bing Xin’s translation of “the
Prophet” was eventually completed and published.
In China today exists a healthy appetite for Gibran poetry and history, with several
completed works published both online and in print. Conference director, Professor
Lin Fengmin PhD head of the Dept. of Arabic language &. Literature at Peking
University says; “there is a large and growing interest in Gibran literature in China”
and he anticipates with the help of the web “Gibran in China has a very bright
future… “ I am confident that if they were to read one sentence of Gibran’s poetry,
they’ll read much more, if not everything”
Associate Professor MaZheng PhD. of the Henan University is also currently on a
sponsored initiative from China working out of the Maryland University, translating
selected works of Kahlil Gibran under the guiding hand of world renowned scholar,
Professor Suheil Bushrui, founder of The Kahlil Gibran Global Forum and Director of
The George and Lisa Zakhem Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace.
Glen Kalem is an international Kahlil Gibran researcher and historian who is turning
his findings into a debut feature length documentary film. He currently sits on the
board of the newly founded Kahlil Gibran Global Forum an initiative of the Maryland
University under the auspices of renowned Kahlil Gibran Biographer and Scholar and
Professor of Sociology, Suheil Bushrui, BA,PhD,Hon LHD Research,
Written By Glen Kalem for the “The Kahlil Gibran Global Forum”
For more information please contact Glen Kalem via [email protected]
GIBRAN IN CHINA