Created at the peak of Imperial China's economic and cultural importance, the Qianlong Garden complex in the Forbidden City was intended to be the center of the retirement retreat of the Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799). His long and remarkable reign saw dramatic military conquests and spectacular literary and artistic achievements, but was also a time of corrosive corruption and bureaucratic stagnation. Over many decades, he focused his inquisitive mind on the creation of the exquisite pavilions and gardens that were to be his sanctuary in old age. WMF and the Palace Museum have been carefully restoring the glories of this complex over a decade. Dr. Solomon will discuss its creation, rediscovery, and ongoing conservation.
Bonnie Burnham, president and chief executive of the World Monuments Fund, joined the organization as executive director in 1985 and was named president in 1996. The World Monuments Fund is a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered ancient and historic sites around the world.
Burnham, who holds degrees in art history from the University of Florida and the Sorbonne, previously served as executive director of the International Foundation for Art Research. She has been honored as a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, is a Distinguished Alumna of the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida, and is the first recipient of its Beinecke-Reeves Distinguished Achievement Award in Historic Preservation. She received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Florida Southern College in 2009.
Burnham has served on the boards of the National Institute of Conservation and the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation. She is currently on the board of the New York Studio School, a Trustee of the Butler Fund for the Environment, and a member of the United States Commission for UNESCO and the Board of Advocates, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida.
Andrew Solomon's most recent book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won the 2001 National Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; it has received 14 additional national awards and is published in 24 languages. Mr. Solomon is a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College, and has lectured on depression around the world. He is a contributing editor at Travel and Leisure, and writes for The New York Times and The New Yorker, among others. He is currently working on a book entitled, Far from the Tree: A Legacy of Love, in which he studies family dynamics and extraordinary children; he is also working on a PhD at Cambridge University. He serves on numerous philanthropic boards in the fields of mental health, the arts, and gay rights, and is a fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University and the New York Institute for the Humanities.