Y.C. James Yen (1890-1990), a native of Bazhou district, Bazhong city, Sichuan province, was a world-renowned civilian educator, patriotic intellectual, and founder of the rural reconstruction movement. In his early years, he studied in Bazhong, Langzhong, and Chengdu in Sichuan as well as in Hong Kong.
In the 7th year of the Republic of China (1918), he graduated from Yale University, and in 1919 he obtained a master's degree from Princeton University. After returning to China in 1920, he was committed to civilian education activities, and established a civilian education school and a civilian education promotion association. In 1928, he went to the United States to give lectures and raise funds for China's civilian education.
After the outbreak of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, he started pilot projects of civil education in the counties of Hunan, Guizhou, and Sichuan provinces. He also served in various posts such as chairman of the International Civil Education Committee and special adviser to UNESCO.