NYU Shanghai Provost Joanna Waley-Cohen Receives Chinese Government Friendship Award

Feb 6 2024

On February 4, NYU Shanghai Provost Joanna Waley-Cohen was awarded a Friendship Award by the Chinese Government at a ceremony held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Chinese Premier Li Qiang met with the award-winning foreign experts at the award ceremony and the Spring Festival symposium. Following Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman, Waley-Cohen is the second foreign citizen at NYU Shanghai to receive this prestigious honor.

Established in 1991, the Friendship Award is the highest award honoring foreigners who have made outstanding contributions to China’s reform and development. This year, Waley-Cohen was one of 50 foreigners to receive the accolade.


Fifty foreigners who have made significant contributions to China’s reform and development were awarded the 2023 Friendship Award. 

“I feel deeply honored to receive this recognition,” said Waley-Cohen, “but more than a personal honor, it is a valuable acknowledgment of the ever-growing significance of our school in the Chinese educational world and in people-to-people exchange between China and the world.”

This is not Waley-Cohen’s first government recognition during her time at NYU Shanghai. In 2015 and 2019, she was awarded the Magnolia Silver Award and the Magnolia Gold Award by the Shanghai Municipal People's Government for her outstanding contributions to education and cultural exchanges in Shanghai.

Waley-Cohen is a well-known scholar of early modern Chinese history, China and the West, and Chinese imperial culture, especially in the Qianlong era. Waley-Cohen joined NYU Shanghai in 2012 and is currently the Provost. Waley-Cohen has taught at NYU since 1992 as the Julius Silver Chair Professor of History and served as chair of the Department of History from 2009 to 2012. Before joining New York University, she taught at Yale University, MIT, Columbia University and other universities.

pic​​Provost Joanna Waley-Cohen’s award certificate and medal