University News

Helen Foster Snow Celebration

Published: September 16, 2017 | Category: Special Events

On Wednesday, September 20 and Thursday, September 21, Southern Utah University will host several events in celebration of the life and achievements of Cedar City native, Helen Foster Snow.

Snow had an historic impact on journalism with her work in China, Korea, and Japan. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1982 and 1984 for her work, connection and “friendship bridge” with the Chinese people. She was also the second American to be awarded the title of “Friendship Ambassador,” the highest honor bestowed by the Chinese People’s Association for friendship with foreign countries.

She arrived in China in 1931 and spent nearly a decade there interviewing, journaling and writing. Snow and her husband Edgar were the first foreigners who broke through the news blackout by the national government, sneaking into the “red areas” of China, and as such were the first to do exclusive interviews with major Chinese political figures. Snow was the second foreign woman to enter the area. She was able to interview Mao Zedong and get his support for what was to become the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives and “gung ho” movement.

The first event is on Wednesday, September 20 at 8 p.m. SUU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts will host a performance by The Shaanxi National Orchestra of Broadcasting and TV from Xi’an, China at Thorley Recital Hall in SUU’s Music Building. The orchestra will be performing a mix of folk instruments and traditionally based ensembles. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Shaanxi Orchestra was founded in 1950 as one of the earliest professional orchestras in China. Over the past 60 years they have represented the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Shaanxi provincial government in dozens of countries worldwide. Their performances seek to bring the authentic local style of Shaanxi to the world.

Several events will take place on Thursday, September 21 in celebration of Snow’s life and achievements. The keynote event will be at 11:30 a.m. in the Hunter Conference Center as part of the APEX Event series. The keynote is free and open to the public. Other events will occur throughout the day with guests, scholars, and dignitaries from the U.S. and China.

9:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Opening Ceremony and morning speakers at SUMA
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - APEX Keynote with speakers An Wei and Kelly Ann Long at The Great Hall in the Hunter Conference Center
12:40 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Reception and book signing in the lobby of the Hunter Conference Center
2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Afternoon speakers session in the Charles Hunter Room

“Southern Utah University and the A.P.E.X. Event Series are always honored to celebrate the amazing lives that have influenced history in bright and exceptional ways,” said A.P.E.X Directory Lynn Vartan. “The celebration of Helen Foster Snow’s life and achievements is among the highest. She shaped history and created a viewpoint that would not have been possible without her tireless work.”

Throughout her life and career Helen Foster Snow authored several books along with the beloved records of her journaling, including her memoir “My China Years.” While in China and after returning to the U.S., she also authored under the pen name Nym Wales.

Her work as a journalist in China has left a lasting impression between both countries, and this event series is just one way to honor her life and legacy.


Contact Information:

Lynn Vartan, Director of A.P.E.X
vartan@suu.edu