Below and attached is a message from Professor Richard Baum, Director Emeritus of the Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA.
To the Faculty, Staff, Graduate Students and Friends of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies:
As many of you know, after 43 years on the UCLA faculty（and an additional four years as a UCLA undergraduate student in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s）, I have formally retired from the university as of July 1st of this year. In part, my decision to retire at this time（at the sprightly young age of 70）was influenced by my ongoing struggle with metastatic cancer（leiomyosarcoma）, which has occupied much of my time and energy over the past couple of years. I am happy to report that I appear to be winning this battle, as my disease is currently in remission.
One major advantage of retirement is that I now have an opportunity to spend more time in the south of France, where my wife Karin and I have, over the past few years, established a second home in a lovely rural hamlet near Aix-en-Provence, where we have grown much enamored of the local life style, culture, and exquisite ambiance—not to mention the region’s incomparable food and wine. Indeed, as I write this letter I am looking out from a large picture window overlooking an expansive oak forest that surrounds our maison on three sides. Just beyond the forest lies the extraordinary Mte. Sainte Victoire, immortalized by the impressionist Paul Cezanne in a series of paradigm-shifting paintings done more than a century ago.
Notwithstanding the many local attractions, I have not cut all of my ties to UCLA. Under a post-retirement agreement worked out with the political science department, I will return to Westwood in the winter quarter（January through March）to teach one or two undergraduate courses on China each year for at least the next three years. I hope to see many of you while I am in residence there next winter.
I’d like to personally thank those of you who helped, either directly or indirectly, to make my six years as director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, 1999-2005, such a pleasant and productive experience. In that six year span, four events in particular stand out as especially rewarding. The first was a major Center-sponsored international conference on US-China relations, held on February 27, 2000, to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué. The second was the extraordinary summer I spent with two faculty colleagues and eleven UCLA graduate and undergraduate students, living in a remote rural township of Qinghai province in the summer of 2002, teaching intensive English conversation courses to 200 local minority nationality middle-school students. I can safely say that this was a uniquely rewarding peak experience for everyone who took part—none of which would have been possible without the moral and financial support provided by a very special group of “Friends of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies”（you know who you are!）.
The third memorable experience from my time as director of the China Center was the exciting-- even path-breaking-- semester I spent at Peking University（Beida）in the fall of 2005, when I designed and co-taught a lecture course on “Globalization and its Discontents” to a stellar group of 100 Beida and U.C. undergraduate students. Sponsored by the U.C. Education Abroad Program, this unprecedented course included candid, uncensored presentations and debates on a number of politically sensitive subjects, including the nature and origins of the 1989 Tiananmen student demonstrations and the origins and coercive suppression of the Falun Gong a decade later. Such classroom discussions were truly remarkable for their time and place. Lastly, my fourth memorable experience as Center director was the creation in 1999 of a formal listserv, hosted by UCLA’s International Institute, to house my on-line special-interest discussion forum, called “Chinapol.” Initially founded in 1994 as a personal e-mail list while I was teaching a course at Meiji-Gakuin University（Yokohama）, membership in Chinapol jumped from 120 to more than 800 during my six years as director of the UCLA China Center. At present, the list includes almost 1,200 China scholars, journalists, diplomats and policy analysts from 29 countries.（Parenthetically, I have written in substantial detail about the founding and development of Chinapol, as well as about my Qinghai and Beida teaching adventures, in a recently published personal memoir, China Watcher：Confessions of a Peking Tom （University of Washington Press, 2010））.
Finally, I’d like to say a word about the recent fiscal travails of the University of California. Although the U.C. system currently faces its most severe budgetary shortfall of the past half century, I am confident that the enormous drive, dedication, and determination of UCLA faculty, staff, students, and their loyal community supporters will enable UCLA – and its Center for Chinese Studies – to emerge from this crisis with renewed energy, effectiveness, and heightened esprit de corps.
Until next winter, then, from deep in the heart of the Provençal countryside, I wish you all un agréable voyage et une bonne journée.
With deepest affection,
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, UCLA Department of Political Science
Director Emeritus, UCLA Center for Chinese Studies
UCLA Center for Chinese Studies