Staff Member Educates in China

by Public Relations

Matteo Ricci, a famous Italian mathematician, cartographer and Jesuit priest, traveled to China in an effort to plant Catholic churches by teaching Chinese scholars western knowledge, science and technology. More than 450 years later, Carl Brandon, director of library media services at Cedarville University, spent four months in China. Like Ricci, Brandon went with a desire to further the knowledge-base of future generations.

Brandon served as a Xenia and district 6670 International Rotary ambassadorial scholar through the sponsorship of the Beijing Administrative College (BAC). While there, he utilized his extensive background in media production to teach Chinese students about the elements of effective presentations, including visual impact, the power of stories, and the importance of presentation environment.

“Teaching visual literacy and effective visual presentation seminars was a lot of fun,” shares Brandon. “I watched students interpret concepts and turn them into visual images that told a story. They were excited about using media technology to express their ideas.”

In addition to the enjoyable experiences in the classroom, Brandon also enjoyed getting to know the students outside the class. “Socializing over lunch was a great experience,” he says. “Learning about customs, where students were from, their aspirations, likes and dislikes—the interaction was great.”

Though Brandon’s main goal was to teach and build relationships with the BAC students, he took an opportunity to encounter Ricci himself. Brandon provided photography and English copy editing services for the publication of a coffee-table book on Matteo Ricci and other early Jesuit missionaries who furthered China’s introduction to Western technology. China will celebrate the death and burial of Ricci and other missionaries this spring on BAC’s campus, where Ricci’s grave is located. Ricci, a favorite of the emperor, was the first Westerner to be buried within China. Before his death all foreigners had to be buried on the island of Macau. Ricci’s cemetery is located in the heart of the BAC campus. There, dignitaries from Europe will observe Ricci’s commemorative burial event and receive as a gift the book on the cemetery’s history.

Reflecting on his time in China, Brandon shares, “I brought back with me an appreciation for the Chinese people – their dedication to productivity, education and financial stability, and their love of family and the gospel message of Jesus Christ. It was one exciting and worthwhile journey.”