China Seminar begins its 2021-2022 season with reflections on the more than forty plus years since the program was established.
Eager to spread interest in and knowledge of all facets of China, in 1978 Professor Daniel Kwok launched the China Seminar, which combined serious discussion of a wide range of topics, followed always by The Maple Garden Restaurant’s superb food. Over the years, more than 250 speakers have delivered over 350 presentations on a wide range of topics — covering history, culture, politics, economics, art, theater, music, food, technology, intellectual property, law, and even medicine. The China Seminar has been the premier venue for exchanging ideas and has been at the forefront of serious discussions as China rose to become a major political and economic power.
Join us in reflecting on the legacy of the China Seminar as we forge new paths forward.
The Friends of the East-West Center and East-West Center are honored to continue this vital program online for our members, local community, and those worldwide who are interested in all topics concerning China.
Daniel Kwok’s Unique Connections to China
Daniel W. Y. Kwok was born in Shanghai, China, in 1932. His father, Tak-Wah Kwok, was an official in the Republic of China’s Shanghai Foreign Office during the turbulent years before the Communist takeover. His father studied political science at the University of Washington, Harvard, and Cambridge. His mother, Grace Wong, came from a Shanghai Episcopalian family and was educated at Oberlin College and the New England Conservatory of Music and performed as a concert pianist. Since his father’s work focused on the defense of Shanghai, the family was acutely aware of the social and political issues of the times and of the impending disaster. In the 1930s, they travelled often to Hong Kong and the interiors of China.
Dr. Kwok left Hong Kong to attend Brown University (BA 1954, History), where he met his wife Nancy Campbell Kwok (Pembroke, BA 1954, French Literature). He then attended Yale University where he earned an MA in Far Eastern Studies (1956) and a PhD in History (1959). He was a lecturer at Yale from 1957–1959, during which time he and Nancy brought their two children, Alison and Theodore, into the world. At Knox College (1959–1961) he introduced new courses on Asia. During these early years his homesickness for China led him to a lifelong interest, in experimenting and cooking Chinese food, to achieve just the right tastes from his childhood memories.
After joining the faculty at the University of Hawai‘i in 1961, his research and teaching focused on Chinese scientism, populism, and Ming-Qing thought. Daniel retired in 1997 and resides in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He founded and led the China Seminar from its inception through August 2020.