Image of Image of 'Study the past to understand the present' banner

China Forum, Jesus College

The China Forum aims to deepen mutual understanding between China and the West by 'studying the past to understand the present' (jian gu zhi jin).

The Forum organises and hosts interdisciplinary seminars involving scholars, policy makers and business people. The forthcoming and past events represent a wide array of views in order to contribute to mutual understanding between China and the West.

The China Forum is committed to maintaining academic freedom, including freedom of speech and expression.

Global challenges confronting humanity include health pandemics, species extinction, global warming, inequality of income and wealth, concentration of global business power, and instability of the global financial system. Both developed and developing countries are searching for non-ideological and pragmatic governance of the global political economy in order to meet the common interests of humanity, present and future.

Appreciating the history of China’s philosophy, politics, economy, society and culture enables a greater understanding of China today, and can contribute to harmonious global governance at this crossroads in human civilisation.


The China Forum is run by the Director and Deputy Director with support from the Administrator.  The Forum works with a wide range of people to deliver its seminar programme.

Director – Professor Peter Nolan CBE
Professor Peter Nolan has researched, written, and taught on a wide range of issues in economic development, globalisation, and the transition of former planned economies.
Tel: +44 (0)1223 760625

Deputy Director – Professor Hans van de Ven
Professor Hans van de Ven is a Fellow of St Catharine’s College and Professor of Modern Chinese History in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

Administrator – Denise Hayles
Tel: +44 (0)1223 760625
Email: China Forum Administrator


In April 2016 Jesus College signed an agreement with Peking University to establish a China Centre at the College.  The China Centre launched its series of interdisciplinary academic seminars in February 2019.  In 2022, following a detailed review of the China Centre by a panel of academics, Jesus College announced that the Centre would be restructured and renamed the China Forum.


The China Forum seminar programme is organised by the Director in consultation with the China Forum Management Group.  The Management Group consists of the Director, Professor Peter Nolan, the Deputy Director, Professor Hans van de Ven, and Jesus College Emeritus Fellow Dr Jana Howlett.  The Forum’s activities are overseen by the China Forum Committee which reports to College Council.

The China Forum’s Annual Report will be published here later in the 2022-23 academic year.


Following a review of the China Centre, the China Forum has been funded directly by Jesus College since the start of the 2022-23 academic year. 

Other information

Visit our Data Protection page for further information about how we deal with your data.

The College has a wide range of global initiatives, some of which have been in collaboration with Chinese organisations. Our work with China webpage contains details of all of our strategic work with China.

University of Peking’s Summer School in China

Each year Jesus College offers two students the opportunity to attend the PKU Summer School in Beijing, thanks to the generosity of Peking University and the Marshall Foundation. The Tutorial Office will contact all current undergraduates in Lent Term with full details of the programme and explain how to make an application. 

Also in this section:

Hear from our students