Meeting Rector Kola

Meeting Rector Kola


Rector Jukka Kola asked me WHY I came to Helsinki (I sometimes wonder why as well).

I used different ways to answer his question.

In fact, for every “journey” of my life, I ask this question. Why have I been brought here?

What can I bring to the University of Helsinki and Finland? What I can learn from this journey?

Part of this will have to be answered in the future as we progress.

But I think in general, my purpose here is to transform lives through the role as a Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of Confucius Institute, as it has been with my previous jobs elsewhere.

Yes, research is important, teaching is important and doing my admistrative work is important.

But in reality, what truly matters is when I am in my “role” and am introduced to new people (e.g. students, colleagues, sometimes strangers) who need my help and friendship, AND I really offer my help and friendship.

And of course, I also accept help and friendship and grow in my journey.

This should apply to all kinds of jobs that we are in, I guess. It is not unique to my kind of job. However, from time to time, my job allows me to have a public face. People might talk about me and feel inspired by my stories. Some “friends” on my Facebook actually belong to this category. We never met but through spread of words, they want to be my “friends”. Sometimes we underestimate the power of the good will and good deeds that we give to others. They turn back to you in amazing ways!