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Condoleezza Rice: Urbanization and Technology

SEP . 25 2015
Peking University, Sept. 22, 2015: On September 22nd, 2015, Condoleezza Rice, the prior secretary of state of US, who is now a professor in Stanford University, delivered a keynote speech on Urbanization and Technology in Stanford Center of Peking University.
Before the speech, Rice met with Zhu Shanlu, the chair of Peking University Council. Zhu Shanlu extended very warm welcome to Rice and encouraged that there should be more collaborations between PKU and Stanford University. This is the second time that Rice has come to PKU after her first visit in 2005, and Rice expressed her expectations on the promising future of the two universities.
In her speech, Rice expressed her views on the development of urbanization and technology, and she provided some suggestions according to the relation of urbanization and technology.
“Technology is not good or bad in itself,” Rice claimed. Technology and innovation has greatly changed history and life of human beings. We can see it from the past years’ development of China. “Technology is application of knowledge to a problem,” Rice said. On the one hand, it uplifts the efficiency and is changing the very nature of economy; on the other hand, technology lengthens longevity dramatically. Moreover, technology makes society develop in an environmentally economical, sustainable way.

Rice also gave three suggestions concerning the mutual influence of urbanization and technology. Firstly, Rice suggested that people are not necessary to leave villages and go to cities, they can stay in village if they wish, because technology is like an equalizer. People can have access to excellent educational resources and health care information online even if they live in the countryside. Secondly, since human potential is the key to innovation, Rice suggested that we should promote the education for women and girls. Thirdly, Rice told us that immigration has to be tolerated and welcomed since it can promote the development of society, as she pointed out that US has benefited much from immigration. 
A round table discussion took place after the speech. Professor Karl Elkenberry, the Director of the US-Asia Security Initiative at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center, Wang Yiming, Deputy Director General at the State Council Development and Research Center, Zhu Tong, chair professor of environmental chemistry at Peking University and Professor Condoleezza Rice shared their opinions about urbanization and technology. Rice argued that we cannot just study technology, the more important is how to use technology to affect human’s life, which requires creativity.
In the Q&A session, a sophomore student from Stanford University wondered Rice’s view about the presidential relationship between US and China. Rice admitted that there are both many areas of collaborations and conflicts between US and China. Next generation should make contribution to solve the problems. She thought that both American and Chinese policies have produced much talk and the responsibility to keep a friendly relationship on both US and China.
Rice’s thought-provoking speech is only one part of the first Lee Shau kee World Leaders Forum, and we are looking forward to more interactions between Stanford and Peking University.

Reported by: Zhang Yuyao

Edited by: Zhang Jiang