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Michael Meyer

Sat Dec 1 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Crystal Ballroom B, Lobby Level, West Tower

The Road to Sleeping Dragon: Learning China from the Ground Up

Sponsored by the Asia Community and World History Community, with support from the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA)

In 1995, at the age of twenty-three, Michael Meyer joined the Peace Corps and, after rejecting offers to go to seven other countries, he was sent to a tiny town in Sichuan.  Knowing nothing about China, or even how to use chopsticks, Mr. Meyer wrote Chinese words up and down his arms so he could hold conversations, and , per a Communist dean's orders, jumped into teaching his students about the Enlightenment, the stock market, and Beatles lyrics.  Soon he realized his Chinese counterparts were just as bewildered by the country's changes as he was.  With humor and insight, Mr. Meyer puts readers in his novice shoes, winding across the length and breadth of his adopted country--from a terrifying bus attack on arrival, to remote Xinjiang and Tibet, and his future wife's Manchurian family, and into efforts to protect China's heritage at place like "Sleeping Dragon," the world's largest panda preserve.

In the last book of his China trilogy, Mr. Meyer tells a story both deeply personal and universal, as he gains greater--if never complete--assurance, capturing what it feels like to learn a language, culture and history from the ground up.  He will recount his 20-year journey via photographs, as well as talking about the challenges of reporting from China.

Michael Meyer, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA