On April 28, the St. Stephen’s Chinese Club hosted special guest speaker John L. Holden, a business consultant with more than five decades of experience in U.S.-China relations.
Leader of the Chinese division at McLarty Associates in Washington, D.C., Holden has held a number of top senior management positions at firms and universities in Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei, and served as president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations in New York.
Holden told members of the Chinese Club that he chose to study Mandarin Chinese and work in international business relations because he wanted to better understand the world and what it means to be a human being.
“The biggest issue for foreigners engaging with China in the past was that people were not encouraged to talk with visitors,” he said. “That has changed. Young people in China are no longer afraid of foreigners.
“I am very empathetic of all young people today,” Holden added. “The world is going through some major traumas right now. This is not a world war we are in, but it is a world crisis. It is important to stay informed of global disasters because they affect us all.”
Holden noted that he does not like the current political culture in China, but he believes it can and will change for the better. “I hope it will change some of its policies and evolve in a more liberal direction,” he said. “But no society is perfect.”
Before ending his talk, Holden advised students to pursue their passions and always choose what is right even when it is difficult to do so. “Always maintain your own moral compass,” he said. “That will help you navigate through difficult times.”