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[Beijing Forum 2017] Beijing Forum Highlights Diverse Perspectives on Globalization

NOV . 07 2017
Peking University, November 5, 2017: On the last day of the Beijing Forum, the final session of the thematic segment entitled “To Prepare for a Globalized Future: Reflections and Explorations” was held in B101, Second Gymnasium at Peking University. Speakers from PKU  and other institutions shared their perspectives on the future possibilities of China’s global outreach and general trends of globalization in relation to young people around the world.

The first half of the session focused on globalization and, largely, the economic and political impacts of a globalized future. The second half, after the break, brought together diverse perspectives on globalization in terms of education, learning and literature.

The first speaker of the morning was Andrea Zambrano Fajardo who is originally from Mexico but is currently completing her Master’s Degree at the Yenching Academy. She focused her presentation on the impact of specific Belt and Road Initiative projects and the challenges and critiques faced by both the Belt and Road and specific projects.  Her presentation laid the foundation for the morning, exploring how projects abroad are changing international perceptions of China as a global power.

Andrea Zambrano Fajardo presenting at the Beijing Forum

Li Haifeng, the next speaker, added his perspectives on the role of young people in shaping the globalized future. His presentation emphasized the importance of independence and knowledge for young people in the modern world. Along these themes, he encouraged young people to pay attention to the news and engage with the world around them. To illustrate his points, he drew on his own experiences working with international nuclear policy.

The final speaker before the coffee break was Daniel de Oliveira Vasconcelos who is originally from Brazil and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree at the Yenching Academy. He examined the broader issue of globalization and its impact on the global south. He highlighted the inequalities that have developed despite the celebrated benefits of increased connectivity and trade. Explaining this reality, de Oliveira Vasconcelos explained, “we have a clear divide, even though globalization was good, the south is still suffering even though they were considered the winners.” His presentation reinforced the need to consider all of the impacts of globalization, not just its most positive aspects.

Daniel de Oliveria Vasconcelos discussing globalization during his presentation

Daniel de Oliveria Vasconcelos told PKU News that he thought the first session was important as it debated different aspects of globalization, from high politics to youth action.” He added that, “In this sense, we could reflect on the fact that globalization is a very complex phenomenon that involves governments, of course, but also ordinary people, which are, in the end, those who make the world really global.”

After taking a short break, the conversation picked up again with a presentation on the representation of Confucianism in a Global World from Alena Potekhina of St. Petersburg State University. Potekhina’s work examined the role of Confucian ideology in relation to both domestic political discourse and the promotion of Chinese culture and language abroad, particularly through Confucius institutes.

Taking a different look at the spread of Chinese culture and ideas abroad, Huang Fangyuan, a Yenching Scholar, discussed the importance of understanding the multiple dimensions of translation in analyzing the literature of the Chinese diaspora. She explored various topics such as mistranslation, manipulations of translations and the creative process of translation. Weaving together the complexity of translated narratives and understanding the speakers as individuals, she raised questions about language as an imperfect method of exchange and communication.

Alena Potekhina, Huang Fangyuan and Yulia Leonovich answering audience questions during the Beijing Forum

Finishing the session was Yulia Leonovich who presented her research on educational exchanges between China and Russia. She traced the history of Sino-Russian relations from the 18th century through the present day and offered her perspective on future opportunities for strengthening educational exchange between the two countries.

Overall, the final morning exploring the theme “To Prepare for a Globalized Future: Reflections and Explorations” left the audience with a broader understanding of both the work that young people are doing in the field of globalization and the impacts of globalization on future generations. After the session, speakers and audience members mingled and discussed ideas brought up in the presentations sharing perspectives and truly embracing the spirit of the Beijing Forum.

Reported by: Erin Dunne
Edited by: Zhang Jiang
Photo Credit: Leo Mengran LI