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Looking Beyond the Crisis for a Harmonious Future: Beijing Forum 2009 Opens

Peking University, Beijing, Nov. 8, 2009: The 6th Beijing Forum was opened on the morning of November 6th at Diao Yu Tai State Guest House. With the theme “The Harmony of Civilizations and Prosperity for All: Looking Beyond the Crisis to a Harmonious Future”, it attracted more than 300 leading experts and scholars from over 40 countries and regions, who will participate in in-depth and intensive exchanges and dialogues on human crises. A total of 5 panel sessions, 3 special panels and one dialogue will be staged as part of this year's forum. The 5 panel sessions invite scholars’ discussions from the economic, political, cultural, historical and educational perspective.

 

 

The 6th Beijing Forum was opened at Diao Yu Tai State Guest House.

 

Distinguished guests at the opening ceremony of the forum included Jiang Shusheng, Vice-Chairman of Standing Committee of the National people's Congress; Luo Haocai, Former Vice-Chairmen of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; Hao Ping, Vice Minister of Education; Huang Wei, Vice Major of Beijing Municipality; Joseph Verner Reed, Under-Secretary-General of The United Nations; Chey Tae-won, Chairman of SK Group, Republic of Korea; Chey Jae-won, Vice Chairman of SK Group, Republic of Korea; Marshall S. Smith, Senior Counselor to Secretary of Education and Former Under-Secretary for Education, USA; Kim Jae Youl, President of the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies; Zhou Qifeng, President of Peking University; Zhou Qiren, Dean & Professor of National School of Development, Peking University; representatives of foreigners scholars were: Kenneth J. Arrow, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University; Seyyed H. Nasr, Professor of the George Washington University, President of the Foundation for Traditional Studies; Peter J. Katzenstein, President of the American Political Science Association, Professor of Cornell University. The opening ceremony was hosted by Min Weifang, Chairman of Peking University Council. 


 
Min Weifang, Chairman of Peking University Council, hosted the forum.

 
 
Jiang Shusheng, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC Delivers Speech
 

Jiang Shusheng, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of NPC, opened the ceremony. He said: “Beijing Forum has been a grand annual event in China’s humanities and social sciences field and higher education field with significant global impact. This year’s theme ‘The Harmony of Civilization and Prosperity for All -- Looking Beyond the Crisis to a Harmonious Future’ establishes a close tie between reflection on crisis and harmonious development, which will exert a considerable farsighted impact on present world situation. It is the responsibility of all governments and scholars to make a concerted contribution to the harmonious development of the world.” 


 
Joseph Verner Reed, Under-Secretary-General of UN speaks
 

A video message from UN Secre­tary-General Ban Ki-moon

Joseph Verner Reed, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, continued the theme, telling that “harmonization” was the only means of meeting global challenges, such as food shortages, climate change and H1N1 and it was perfectly appropriate to hold Beijing Forum 2009 at this moment. Reed also presented a video message from the UN Secre­tary-General Ban Ki-moon, who stressed that the global financial crisis was far from over. He said the total number of those unemployed continued to rise, forcing an additional 100 million people to live in poverty across the world. In light of this, he said, he hoped that this year’s forum could make a substantial devotion to the common enterprise of humankind and achieve a remarkable success.

 

 

Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping speaks

 

Vice Mayor of Beijing Municipality Huang Wei Speaks

 

Hao Ping, vice minister of Education, spoke highly of the crucial role that Beijing Forum played in promoting international communication of advanced education, prosperity of social science and worldwide cultural pluralism. Huang Wei, Vice Mayor of Beijing Municipality, told the forum that the annual academic conference held in the Chinese capital is aimed at promoting trans-cultural exchanges and dialogue among the world’s academics. Huang said: ‘we are striving to establish an environmentally-friendly Beijing, a culturally enriched Beijing and a technology-empowered Beijing'. Our cultural focus, though, remains as the very core of this historic city.”

 
Chey Jae-won, Vice Chairman of SK Group, Republic of Korea, Gives Speech

 

Chey Jae-won, vice chairman of SK Group, Republic of Korea, said that China’s greatness lies in its real strength, great achievement, and true inner beauty. Beijing Forum carries the spirit of free communication, mutual respect and the will to explore into differences. It is with this spirit that Beijing becomes China’s cultural center and that China comes to shoulder the responsibility of the world’s harmony and prosperity.

 
Zhou Qifeng, President of Peking University, welcomes guests

 

PKU President Zhou Qifeng congratulated on the opening of Beijing Forum 2009 on the behalf of Peking University. He said “In the wake of the global economic crisis, the forum should advocate the exploration of solutions in a spirit of harmony from both a theoretical and a practical point of view in a bid to contribute to global peace and development. I believe, through the following academic communication by worldwide leading scholars, a new leap will be made in refining general values of human cultures. ”
 

In the keynote section, four internationally renowned scholars shared their thoughts with the audience, they were: Kenneth J. Arrow, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, professor emeritus of Stanford University, member of the American National Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies, George Washington University and president of the Foundation for Traditional Studies; Peter J. Katzenstein, president of the American Political Science Association, professor of Cornell University and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Zhou Qiren, dean of the National School of Development and Director of the China Center for Economic Research, Peking University.

 

Professor Arrow made a presentation under the title “Economic Theory and the Financial Crisis”, in which the financial crisis was analyzed from the perspective of the theory of asymmetry of information, etc. He pointed out that the failure of markets for various kinds of derivative securities to perform properly was an essential element of the current financial crisis. Two possible approaches to cope with the crisis are to change the incentives of the individuals involved and to issue a new set of general financial regulations.

The theme of Professor Nasr’s speech is “The Harmony of Heaven, Earth, and Man – Harmony of Civilizations”. He spoke highly of traditional Chinese notion of harmony, and pointed out that it was only through the harmony of man, nature, and civilizations that crises and chaos caused by modernism could be solved, transforming the world into an “abode of peace and harmony”.

 

Professor Katzenstein’s speech focused on the topic – “A World of Plural and Pluralist Civilizations.”. He said, “In history, intercivilizational encounters and engagements are dominant, while clashes are accidental. Coordination, rather than clash, characterizes this multicivilzational economic world based on pluralist civilizations. Under the contemporary condition of crises, it is pluralist civilizations that function as a cushion.”

 

Professor Zhou Qiren gave his presentation titled “Foundation for the Economic Growth of China”. He commented that the underlying reason for the recent economic growth of China is the great cost reduction in economic operation on account of the reform and opening-up policy. The world’s economic situation has changed drastically since World War II, to which the economic system centered upon the US hardly adapted itself, and thus the financial crisis broke out. Despite the change inevitable, we could minimize the loss by way of prolonging the transitional period as much as possible. 

 


 
Group photo at the opening ceremony

 

Other guests at the opening ceremony included ambassadors from Republic of Korea, Brazil, Mongolia, Cambodia, EU, Hungary, Singapore, Switzerland, etc. Representatives from China’s departments and institutions on overseas education and international communication as well as other scholars attending panel sessions of the forum were also present at the ceremony.

 

Translated and edited by: Cai Ying