Washington, D.C. (Jan. 31, 2014) — The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United States Cui Tiankai recently invited Prof. Patrick Mendis of George Mason University to a dinner reception to welcome Deputy Minister Wu Xi at the Chinese Embassy in Washington.
Ambassador Cui and Mendis discussed the long history of Sino-American relations since the beginning of the United States. Mendis told Ambassador Cui that Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and other Founding Fathers of America were inspired by Confucian ethics and the Chinese civilization.
More importantly, Mendis said he reminded the Chinese diplomats that his native country of Sri Lanka enjoyed ancient trade relations and Buddhist links between the two nations. The famous Chinese Buddhist Monk Faxian (Fa-hsien) visited Sri Lanka in the early fifth century and returned home with Buddhist scriptures.
Centuries later Emperor Kublai Khan’s emissary Marco Polo in the Yuan dynasty and the Admiral Zheng He in the Ming dynasty also visited the island, Mendis said.
A former U.S. Department of State employee during the Clinton and Bush administrations, Mendis currently serves as a commissioner to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.
Mendis presented two copies of his book “Peaceful War: How the Chinese Dream and the American Destiny Create a Pacific New World Order,” to Ambassador Cui and Minister Wu.
Late last year, the professor was on a two-month book and lecture tour at 20 universities and academies throughout mainland China and Hong Kong. Through critiques of scholarly works of both Chinese and American scholars and diplomats, Mendis analyzes Sino-American relations in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and the changing geostrategies in Sri Lanka, India, and elsewhere.
As a visiting professor, Mendis lectured at the Chinese Foreign Affairs University (of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the Beijing Foreign Studies University—the well-regarded diplomatic training school of Minister Wu Xi.
Mendis studied and taught at the University of Minnesota.