Future-forming interdisciplinary research

Beijing stakeholder workshop on international friendship

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This project examines newly revived international relations concepts in Chinese stakeholder use. It contributes to an interdisciplinary ISF-based project concerned with future Sino-European relations.

The China-Europe relationship is key to shaping the future of both parties. In Europe, we debate whether China is a threat or opportunity. From China, we hear increasingly vocal claims that Chinese thought provides better grounds for improving future world relations than does Western philosophy. This difference is encapsulated in a set of future-oriented concepts from Chinese history that appear in official policy, including “friendship”, “harmony” and “community of common destiny”. Where both Chinese and European debates assume that two radically different traditions have led to radically different ways of thinking about the future, this project seeks to explore where there may be grounds for mutual learning between these Chinese concepts and similar terms in Europe.

An ISF small grant enables us to hold a one-day workshop at Renmin University in Beijing, with Beijing-based academics, think tanks, friendship organisations, NGOs, and government advisors, all of whom make significant use of the three concepts under scrutiny in this project. In the short term, the workshop will result in new networks and data that will feed into further academic work and grant proposals under way with collabortors in China, Sweden and the UK. It will lay the foundation for future collaboration. In the longer term, we hope that this will be the beginning of sustained future stakeholder engagement with global impact in mind, maintained by yearly visits.

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