Shih-Ying Qu was the only Chinese to obtain a doctoral degree in education from Graduate School of Education of Harvard University in the first half of the 20th century. This avid participant in the May Fourth Movement did not advocate abandoning traditional Chinese culture; his education at Harvard University, which was relatively behind in the field of education, actually held the key to the ensuing development of education philosophy in China. Upon his return to China, Qu first engaged himself to the institutionalization of Chinese academic research on philosophy and then dived into rural mass education, became the longest acting member of the Chinese National Association of Mass Education Movements, and was heart and soul to plans in basic education that the United Nations implemented in various countries after the war. Shih-Ying Qu never lost what he acquired through his Harvard education: a weltanschauung of balance and harmony in the cosmic, in life, and in the world. Farmers in rural areas were enlightened to actualize their individual freedom of personality, which was therealization of his ideals in life and education. This research assesses Shih-Ying Qu’s place in history based on first-hand historical artifacts such as personal files obtained from Harvard University Archives, his publications, and existing research. The depicted image and its historical meaning can shade light on the learning and transfer of external knowledge, which could benefit future education scholars.
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