About Us

The Macau Ricci Institute was founded on December 10, 1999, just a few days before the handover of Macau, on December 20, under direct Chinese administration. The original inception of the Institute, however, dates back to 1994, when the city of Macau celebrated the Fourth Centenary of the foundation, in 1594, of the University of St. Paul by the Society of Jesus.

On July 26, 2000 the Macau Ricci Institute was legally recognized as a public institution in Macau. Among the founding members of the Institute were seven Jesuits and three distinguished scholars and professionals. After renovation and preparation of the facility housing the Institute, the first priority was to bring together, through donation and purchase of books, a basic working library.

The opening ceremony of the Macau Ricci Institute library and facilities was held on October 12, 2001, the year of the celebration of the 400th. anniversary of Matteo Ricci's arrival in Beijing in 1601. Before the opening ceremony, the Chief Executive of Macau, Dr. Edmond Ho, welcomed in a private meeting the Board of Directors of the Institute.

The opening ceremony was highlighted by the presentation and display of the facsimile and critical edition of a Portuguese-Chinese manuscript dictionary composed by early Jesuits Michele Ruggieri (1543-1607) and Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) soon after their arrival in Macau (1582). Such a cultural program, fruit of the collaboration of the Instituto Portugues do Oriente and the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History, at the University of San Francisco, was really fitting the event. The dictionary has since been published in Lisbon by the Portuguese National Library and the Portuguese Oriental Institute.

Founding Members

The Macau Ricci Institute has continued to develop and offer a variety of cultural, professional, and research programs.

The logo of the Macau Ricci Institute is taken from an image embossed on a bianhu, or flat wine vessel, in bronze dating from the time of the Han Dynasty. The image is of a Taoist Immortal riding a tiger.

The Tiger, prince of the wild beasts of the mountain, the roar of which stirs up the wind in the valley, is the animal in which resides the "Yin," the vital principle of Earth. The Tiger signifies the "Yin" that calls forth the action of the "Yang."

To dominate the Tiger symbolizes to master the forces of Earth. All humanity looks around and seeks to understand the grandeur, power and beauty in which we live. The search for understanding, particularly intercultural understanding, is the purpose of the Macau Ricci Institute.


The Macau Ricci Institute is a nonprofit, study and research institution dedicated to fostering better mutual understanding between China and the world community.Offering a unique blend of cultural, professional, and research programs, the purpose and method of the Macau Ricci Institute are best summed up in its links with the city of Macau, the person of Matteo Ricci, the Society of Jesus, and the peoples of China.

Ricci Flag


Macau, from its earliest history (1557) and very geographical existence, remains a noteworthy experiment in intercultural encounter and understanding. For centuries a gateway between China and the West, Macau continues to be an ideal lens through which to broaden understanding of the thoughts and ideals of peoples from different cultures. In many aspects, Macau is a human and cultural crossroads - a real, although small, international city.



Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) is known as the initiator of the Catholic missions in China and one of the earliest members of the Society of Jesus. Others before him ventured toward China, but did not succeed in remaining there for life, let alone to receive the respect and admiration from the Chinese people that Ricci enjoys even to this day. The root of Ricci's success lies in his achieved integration as a human person that made it possible for him to enter so fully into another culture without losing himself.

Matteo Ricci


The Society of Jesus and Macau, in many ways, share together a common beginning and 450 years of history. The Jesuits in Macau have always been at the service of the human person, either in need of education or material help, but always at the very deepest level of ideals and hopes, where culture finds its roots. This Jesuit tradition continues even today in Macau at the Macau Ricci Institute.


During the four and a half centuries of Macau's history, China has taken various steps to develop new channels of contact and exchange with the outside world. While not without challenges and the pain of new birth, with these prolonged encounters and exchanges new horizons have been opened to China and the world at large. Through its programs, publications and services, the Macau Ricci Institute gives witness to the advantages that all share through a continued and mutual search for intercultural understanding.

The Macau Ricci Institute is focused on Macau’s historic role as a privileged door to China. It served as the crossroad of missionaries and a hub of cultural exchange between China and the West. Inspired by the life of Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) who became a true friend of China, the Macau Ricci Institute studies and promotes dialogue between the wisdom traditions of China, including Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam, and the Christian faith in modern society. The Institute seeks to build bridges between China and the West. Macau continues to offer a unique door to China and has a distinct history of facilitating dialogue between different cultures and China. The Macau Ricci Institute is an independent research institute which is affiliated with the University of Saint Joseph, Macau, and has developed programs of cooperation in the fields of teaching and research, as well as hosted jointly sponsored conferences promoting these fields.


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