The appointment of Professor Peter McLaren as Honorary Director of the Center for Critical Pedagogy Research, Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China was hailed by Chinese educational officials as a major historical event. The appointment ceremony took place at the First International Conference in Critical Pedagogy at Northeast Normal University where guest speakers included Dr. McLaren, Dr. Suzanne SooHoo, Dr. Lilia D. Monzó and leading critical scholars and colleagues of Dr. McLaren to include Dr. Juha (Finland), Dr. Kostas (Greece) and Dr. Sergio Quiroz (Mexico, Instituto McLaren). Speakers from China represented eleven leading universities coming from several provinces representing disciplines such as comparative education, international policy, Marxist studies, educational theory and foundations, teacher education, and Chinese rural education. The conference itself was described by the Dean of the Faculty of Education and the Vice-President of the university as a groundbreaking event that was destined to have a lasting impact on the future of education throughout China.
Chapman professors McLaren, SooHoo, and Monzó along with previously mentioned scholars were also invited to participate in a seminar at the prestigious Beijing Normal University (one of the leading universities in China at a par with the most prestigious universities across the world).
There, Professor McLaren, made an address to a packed seminar room of leading Chinese scholars and graduate students, Dr. SooHoo and Dr. Monzó on critical pedagogy, with the assembled professors, administrators and students including the esteemed British ethnographer Dr. Paul Willis (Learning to Labor). The dean of the faculty of education expressed the momentous importance of this seminar for Beijing Normal University and country at large, likening it to John Dewey’s historic yearlong visit at Beijing University Normal.
In addition, Dr. SooHoo, Dr. Monzó, and Dr. McLaren were invited to a special dinner discussion on Chinese philosophy at Beijing Normal University. Clearly, critical pedagogy has an important role to play in the future education of Chinese students and the professors affiliated with Paulo Freire Democratic Project at Chapman University have taken a leading role in shaping evolution of education in China.