China and America (中美交流): Opening Doors, Opening Minds
Brown University embarked on its Year of China flying a banner with a slogan in Chinese to affirm that knowing a language is a first step to learning about a culture. For many, China is hidden behind a language difficult to pronounce, and even more difficult to read. Since ancient times, Chinese has been written in graphic forms, evolving from pictures and signs instead of from the sound-based alphabets that characterize so many other languages.
Marco A. Sanchez Junco '11 and Megan Lin '11 designed the Year of China's logo. Inspired by the traditional Chinese art of paper cutting, this logo celebrated Brown University's Year of China. Red is the symbolic color of happiness and good fortune, a sentiment the designers wished to bestow vibrantly upon the University's scholars and guests of this initiative.
The calligraphy embedded in the logo begins with a character [中] recalling an arrow hitting a target’s bull’s-eye, a picture that came to represent the idea of “central.” The character represents a self-concept that China [中国] was “The Central Kingdom”, the focal point of the world. As the Chinese became acquainted with places beyond their traditional horizons, names were invented, often in ways that conveyed a flattering meaning while at the same time capturing a phonetic element of the place’s spoken name. Here the second character’s root meaning is “beautiful” [美], and pronounced mei, as in America [美国]. The last two characters [交流] mean exchange or collaboration. In their ancient forms they imply notions of flow and mutuality, intersections, and reciprocity, invoking the image of streams of water.
We have rendered this slogan as “Opening Doors, Opening Minds,” a free form translation capturing the essential idea of intersections and the flows of knowledge. It is a phrase that holds both historical and institutional resonance. A common four-character phrase in Chinese (開放開通), “open door” was most recently associated with the liberalization of the Chinese economy set in motion by Premier Deng Xiaoping. The phrase also brings to mind the “Open Door Notes” written by John Hay, graduate of Brown’s Class of 1858, when as Secretary of State he sought to establish the US as a presence in power diplomacy in China.
The “Opening Doors” of the Year of China revealed a series of events, exhibitions, films, lectures and discussions that engaged the University’s students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. “Opening Minds,” a core goal of any University’s mission, was a focus of Brown’s internationalization strategy, which has spawned the Year of China program itself.
Banner Designer: Mary Tao, RISD '13
Calligraphy: Lorrain Meng Tan P'99
Logo Design: Marco A. Sanchez Junco '11 and Megan Lin '11