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  • #76 – Event report – Green Finance in China

     

    SPEAKER

    WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics

     

    VIDEO INTERVIEW (uploaded on our YouTube channel, VPN needed)

     

     

    REPORT

     

    “Today everybody talks about green finance, but sustainable development shouldn’t just be a popular concept, it is in fact the direction we all should follow” – with these words, professor Wang Yao opened ThinkINchina event#76, focused on green finance. As Director General of the International Institute of Green Finance in the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE) based in Beijing, professor Wang joined us to explain what green finance is about and how China is shaping the global discourse overs sustainable development inside and outside its own borders.

     

    Wang opened the evening presenting the work of the Institute, founded in 2016 with the mission of driving both public and private capital into green industries and preventing investments from those sectors highly damaging for the environment. In these three years, the Institute has grown in importance, spreading information about various aspects of sustainability, environmental policies and the importance of investing in green industries.

     

     

    Today, one of the major challenges for this emerging sector is the lack of a common definition and approaches for green finance around the world, making it hard for different countries to coordinate their efforts in terms of sustainability. As Wang highlighted, China is the first country to provide a solid definition of green finance and to promote the concept of technological and financial instruments as means to fight climate change. In fact, by promoting a top-down approach for environmental policies and promulgating the concept of an “ecological civilisation”, China is actively setting an international benchmark for green finance.

     

    As Wang noticed, those efforts led to some changes. In 2016, China chose green finance as one of the main discussion topics for the G20 of that year, held in Hangzhou, influencing the decision of other countries to choose the same topic for the G20 meetings of the following two years. Recently the European Union has launched a taxonomy for green bonds, and many other countries have been promoting measures to conform green standards and pushing the investments towards clean industries.

     

     

    One of the highlights of our evening was the detailed and informative discussion about financial and political instruments used by China to promote the use of clean energies and sustainable development both domestically and abroad. The commitment that China has made towards sustainable development is symbolised by the inclusion of green finance in the Five-Year Plans, thus making it part of the national strategy. This has pushed the public and private sector to further the creation of green finance products. In this regard, green credit has been seen growing faster than credit in general, taking up 10% of the market. Green securities have been experiencing a year-on-year 8% growth, making them the fastest growing market in the world. Green insurance, another instrument of green finance, has also been gaining popularity, with the Ministry of Ecology and Environment making it compulsory for all companies in certain potentially environmentally damaging industries.

     

    Domestically, China has been piloting programs in 5 provincial-level zones: Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou and Xinjiang. In Huzhou, Zhejiang, the local governments have been very successful at creating a system that has allowed small and micro enterprises to use green debts and green credit. The Institute has established a comprehensive database on green bonds in China and on the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) variables for all companies listed in China.

     

     

    Wang Yao concluded the presentation highlighting once again the importance of international cooperation, before Mathias Lund Larsen, Director of International Cooperation for the Institute, joined her on stage for the Q&A session.

    The final remarks brought up by both the public and the speakers concerned the future challenges of the discipline. As Lund Larsen concluded, the role of China in this field will be tied to the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. In fact, even if the role of green finance is increasing all over the world, finding a common ground to work together towards a sustainable development will be one of the challenges of our generation.

     

    Report written by Raffaella Rossi and Eleonora Sartori

     

     

     

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      #76 - Green Finance in China:  SPEAKER WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics   ABSTRACT   In the last few years, green finance has emerged as a popular topic of discussion among legislators across the world, who seek to innovate the way they tackle environmental issues.…
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    • 10000
      WANG Yao  WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics   Professor Wang Yao is the Director General of International Institute of Green Finance (IIGF) of the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE). She also serves as Deputy Secretary General of Green…
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  • #75 – Event Report – Far Regions, Close Ties: Are We Underestimating China’s Impact on Latin America?

     

    SPEAKER

    GUO Jie 郭洁, Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University

     

    VIDEO INTERVIEW (published on YouTube, VPN needed)

     

     

    REPORT

     

    Tan lejos, tan cerca. So far away, so close. When it comes to Latin America and China, many would assume that the striking geographical distance between these parts of the world would impose limits on their proximity. As ThinkINchina event#75 speaker Guo Jie, an associate professor at Peking University’s School of International Studies, mentioned at the very beginning of her lecture, even former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet once said that “if Chileans keep digging down in the ground, they will eventually reach China.” While for a great number of Latin Americans it might be true that China has taken the imaginary form of a distant land, as political and economic ties expand, professor Guo argues, these two far-flung places are growing closer than ever before.

     

    Starting with the theme of trade, Guo Jie claimed that China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 opened a window of commercial opportunities between China and Latin America. Soon enough, China became an important source of imports as well as a key destination of exports to a number of nations within the region. From the beginning of the XXI century until 2018, the bilateral Sino-Latin American trade volume increased 24 times — surpassing 300 billion USD last year. Today, China is the largest trading partner of countries including Brazil (the largest Latin American economy), Chile, Peru, and Uruguay. Furthermore, the Asian giant comes second in Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela, among a few others. Behind this “trade miracle”, important structural issues persist, professor Guo argued. The asymmetric profile of the commercial flows between China and Latin America is particularly serious. While Latin American countries mainly sell agricultural or extractive products to China (such as soybeans, ores, petroleum, copper), the Chinese, on their turn, import more diverse and mostly manufactured exports (like electrical machinery and equipment, machinery and mechanical appliances, motor vehicles and parts). Optimising the trade structure, expanding new trade areas, and enhancing mutual trade security are the main challenges to ensure that China and Latin America advance towards a healthier and more sustainable relationship, Guo asserted.

     

     

    Moving on to outward foreign direct investments (OFDI), professor Guo Jie pointed out that, although more scarce investments activities have occurred for a longer period of time, Chinese investments in Latin America have mostly take place during the last decade. Initially, around 80% of such investments were characterised by a resource-seeking strategy. In the last few years, China’s OFDI to the region have achieved considerable diversification related to the investor type, investment field, and geographical distribution of ventures. Investments have no longer only been a mean of gaining natural resources, but rather an opportunity to explore overseas markets, reduce production and logistics costs, transfer overcapacity, increase competitiveness, and increase R&D competence. Despite a sustained slowdown over the past five years, Chinese capital flows to the region continue to grow.

     

     

    Professor Guo Jie also highlighted the diplomatic relations between China and the largest economy in the region – Brazil. As a case study, professor Guo analysed president Jair Bolsonaro’s radical shift in his previous anti-China rhetoric during his first visit to the world’s second-largest economy in October 2019. The “Old Bolsonaro” and “New Bolsonaro” depict an economic pragmatism that puts aside common populist discourses on China, in favour of a proactive partnership established through bilateral platforms and multilateral cooperation frameworks, such as BRICS. Despite this, “the Bolsonaro factor” cannot be ignored, as political ideology still matters. Meanwhile, the possible continued deterioration of Sino-US relations – in trade and beyond – will inevitably bring uncertainties to the current strategic partnership between China and Brazil, professor Guo declared.

     

    For a long time, geography has prompted China and Latin America to see each other merely as exotic, mythical and magical places. With continuing globalisation and deepening of mutual exchange, the ties between the two will expand from merely the flow of goods and capitals, to influencing politics, culture and historical processes at large.

     

    Report written by Jordy Bolivar Pasa

     

    For learning more about China – Latin America relations, be sure to subscribe to Shūmiàn 书面, the first website and newsletter service in Spanish and Portuguese focusing on China.

     

     

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      #75 - Far Regions, Close Ties: Are We Underestimating China's Impact on Latin America?  SPEAKER GUO Jie 郭洁, Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University   ABSTRACT   China - Latin American relations have expanded to an unprecedented extent since the beginning of the new millenium. Many countries in the region now enjoy increasing amounts of trade with China. For some, China…
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    • 64
      GUO Jie  GUO Jie 郭洁 Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University   Professor Guo's research focuses mainly on Latin American area studies, China - Latin America relations, comparative politics, Cold War international history. Her publications include four monographs and dozens of academic articles. The most recent works include China's…
      Tags: latin, america, guo, china, professor, jie


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  • WANG Yao

     

    WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics

     

    Professor Wang Yao is the Director General of International Institute of Green Finance (IIGF) of the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE). She also serves as Deputy Secretary General of Green Finance Committee (GFC) of the China Society for Finance and Banking, as Secretary General of the Green Securities Committee (GSC) of the Securites Association of China, as fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), as advisor to the Sustainable Finance Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and as consultant for the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

     

    Prof. Wang worked in investment banks for 7 years, before se became a faculty member of Central University of Finance and Economics in 2006. She did her post-doctorate at Bank of Beijing from 2008 to 2010. From 2010 to 2011 she was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University. Prof. Wang is interested in Green Economy, Sustainable Finance, Climate Finance and Green Finance. She is the author of several publications on climate finance and green finance, such as Carbon Finance: Global Vision and Distribution in China (China Economic Publishing House, 2010), and Climate Finance (China Economic Publishing House, 2013).

     

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      #76 - Green Finance in China:  SPEAKER WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics   ABSTRACT   In the last few years, green finance has emerged as a popular topic of discussion among legislators across the world, who seek to innovate the way they tackle environmental issues.…
      Tags: finance, green
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      #76 - Event report - Green Finance in China  SPEAKER WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics   VIDEO INTERVIEW (uploaded on our YouTube channel, VPN needed)     REPORT   "Today everybody talks about green finance, but sustainable development shouldn't just be a popular concept, it is in fact…
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  • #76 – Green Finance in China:

     

    SPEAKER

    WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics

     

    ABSTRACT

     

    In the last few years, green finance has emerged as a popular topic of discussion among legislators across the world, who seek to innovate the way they tackle environmental issues. Thanks to intense efforts sustained by the government, China has ascended as one of the main players in green finance. President Xi Jinping’s pledge of creating a ‘global ecological civilisation’ has come to embody one of China’s top priorities. Despite the many successes that Beijing has achieved so far, there are several challenges lying ahead.

     

    Join our event#76 with professor Wang Yao, from the International Institute of Green Finance of the Central University of Finance and Economics, her talk will provide an overview of green finance and China’s accomplishments in this given field. The obstacles to a further development of green finance will also be covered, in order to understand what the limitations to the Chinese economic and environmental goals are. Lastly, a projection of the future of green finance will be discussed.

     

    VENUE

     

    For this event we will be hosted by Tsinghua SEM X-Elerator 清华经管学院-创业者加速器, at the entrance of Innoway Zhongguancun.

    Address:

    Innoway Zhongguancun, Haohai Building 3rd floor, Haidian East Street 36, Haidian, Beijing

    北京市海淀区海淀西大街36号中关村创业大街昊海楼写字楼3层

    Link on Baidu Maps

     

    *On the northern entrance of the Haohai building there’s the lift that will take you to the third floor, directly at the X-Elerator.

     

    PLEASE TO RSVP CLICK HERE

    OR

    SCAN THIS QR CODE

     

    Our events are as usual for free, we kindly ask you to register in advance in order to help us in the organization of the venue, thanks! Registration will start at 6pm and close at 6.45, seats are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Arriving late won’t guarantee you a seat.

     

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      WANG Yao  WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics   Professor Wang Yao is the Director General of International Institute of Green Finance (IIGF) of the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE). She also serves as Deputy Secretary General of Green…
      Tags: finance, green
    • 71
      #76 - Event report - Green Finance in China  SPEAKER WANG Yao 王遥 Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics   VIDEO INTERVIEW (uploaded on our YouTube channel, VPN needed)     REPORT   "Today everybody talks about green finance, but sustainable development shouldn't just be a popular concept, it is in fact…
      Tags: green, finance


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  • #75 – Far Regions, Close Ties: Are We Underestimating China’s Impact on Latin America?

     

    SPEAKER

    GUO Jie 郭洁, Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University

     

    ABSTRACT

     

    China – Latin American relations have expanded to an unprecedented extent since the beginning of the new millenium. Many countries in the region now enjoy increasing amounts of trade with China. For some, China is a major source of foreign direct investment as well. November’s BRICS Summit in Brasilia, at which Brazil and China strengthened their “comprehensive strategic partnership”, was a stark reminder of how China – Latin America relations are advancing further into new territory. From a time when China and its expanding industries looked to Latin America predominantly for its raw materials, today these countries are forging ahead, not only to deepen trade, but also to promote all-around cooperation.

     

    Yet relations between the two behemoths – China and Brazil – are not without their challenges. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro declared last year during his presidential campaign “the Chinese are not buying in Brazil. They are buying Brazil”. Bolsonaro’s recent visit to Beijing, though, marks a turn around in his once hardened rhetoric against China; no doubts as the reality of China’s importance to the future of Brazil and its economy sets in. Economic pragmatism is and will still be the main driving force for advancing bilateral ties, while in the meantime potential differences in political ideology and foreign policies may also bring inevitable risks to the relationship.

     

    In this context, China has the potential to shape the future of Latin America’s development. How are Latin American nations responding to China’s deepening engagement with the region? Join our event#75 for a conversation with professor Guo Jie from Peking University, for addressing this and many other questions regarding the past decade of China – Latin American relations and which challenges lie ahead.

     

    VENUE

     

    For this event we will be hosted by Tsinghua SEM X-Elerator 清华经管学院-创业者加速器, at the entrance of Innoway Zhongguancun.

     

    Address:

    Innoway Zhongguancun, Haohai Building 3rd floor, Haidian East Street 36, Haidian, Beijing

    北京市海淀区海淀西大街36号中关村创业大街昊海楼写字楼3层

    Link on Baidu Maps

     

    *On the northern entrance of the Haohai building there’s the lift that will take you to the third floor, directly at the X-Elerator.

     

     

    PLEASE TO RSVP CLICK HERE

    OR

    SCAN THIS QR CODE

     

    Our events are as usual for free, we kindly ask you to register in advance in order to help us in the organization of the venue, thanks! Registration will start at 6pm and close at 6.45, seats are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Arriving late won’t guarantee you a seat.

     


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  • GUO Jie

     

    GUO Jie 郭洁

    Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Peking University

     

    Professor Guo’s research focuses mainly on Latin American area studies, China – Latin America relations, comparative politics, Cold War international history. Her publications include four monographs and dozens of academic articles. The most recent works include China’s Agricultural Engagement with Latin America (monograph, 2017), Cutting the Distance: Benefits and Tensions from Recent Active Engagement of China, Japan, and Korea in Latin America (co-authored with Nobuaki Hamaguchi and Chong-Sup Kim, Springer 2018), “Venezuelan Crisis: the Revolution, New Cold War, and the Fate of Men” (China International Strategy Review 2019), “What Connects Two Worlds Apart? – Trans-Pacific Relations between East Asia and Latin America” (ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, 2018), “Continuous Cycle of Political ‘Carnival’?: Reflections on Populism in Latin America” (Journal of International Studies, No.2, 2017).

     

    Professor Guo holds a PhD in law from Peking University. From 2013 to 2016 she worked as Chinese fellow and visiting scholar with institutions such as the Kettering Foundation (US), Inter-American Dialogue (SU), Universidad del Pacifico (Peru), Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil), Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Colegio de México (Mexico).

     

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  • #74 – Event Report – Ecological Humanism

     

    SPEAKERS

    Mary Evelyn TUCKER, Senior Lecturer and Senior Researcher, Yale University; Director of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

    Wu Ruihan, PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy, Peking University

     

    VIDEO INTERVIEW (published on our YouTube channel)

     

     

    REPORT

     

    The word “environment” implies something outside of ourselves – something that surrounds us but is not a part of us. Modern science has also tended to create a distinction between humans and the ecological processes being studied. However, in a world of multiplying ecological challenges, Mary Evelyn Tucker, senior lecturer and researcher at Yale University, believes such a detached viewpoint is insufficient. Her work challenges this distinction between human and environment. As a pioneer in the field of ecological humanism, Tucker’s current project draws on both evolutionary science and the wisdom of world religious traditions to inform a new model of ecological stewardship. This project is, in Tucker’s words, “an intergenerational handshake” to a younger generation who will inherit the monumental task of reviving and revitalising a dying earth.

     

     

    The field of ecological humanism is only about 20 years old. Beginning in the mid-90’s, Tucker and her colleagues wanted to find a new way to contribute to the growing discourse on Asian modernisation and the environment. They realised that although 85% of the world’s population identify with religious beliefs or at least “cultural religion”, the traditional wisdom of these traditions has been largely ignored by modern science. Aside form the institutional power of some religions, why are religious traditions so powerful? What have they done for us as humans? From an ecological perspective, Tucker believes religions have grounded humans in the earth and earth processes. Notably for the ThinkINchina presentation, Asia religions like Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism have sensibilities about the interconnectedness of nature. It is only recently that ecologists have begun to uncover empirical evidence of what these religions have always suggested – an immense intelligence and interconnectedness of nature.

     

     

    While religions can often be problematic, their values and traditions are a rich well-spring of knowledge about how to care for the earth in an increasingly modernised world. They orient humans to something larger than themselves, ground them in earth processes, nurture them through festivals which celebrate food, water, and other life sources, and transform them with ethical principles. They teach humans how to live their lives and how to contribute to their communities. By connecting religious leaders with scientists and policy makers, Tucker and her colleagues hope to “midwife religions into modernity to deal with current [ecological] problems.”

     

     

    The field of ecological humanism is not just abstract. Over the past couple decades, the project has expanded beyond Asia to organise a series of conferences between scholars and religious leaders from all around the world. These conferences led to the publication of 10 academic volumes over 7 years. During this time, Tucker and her colleagues have seen huge interest and engagement, including from environmental scientists who realise their facts and models are insufficient to address ecological challenges without including ethics and humanities in the conversation. At the same time, religious figures like Pope Francis have begun using spiritual language to preach ecological messages like rainforest conservation in Brazil.

     

     

    Returning to the original source of inspiration – Asia modernisation and the environment – Confucianism has been a particularly good starting point for ecological humanism because its cosmology already considers human, earth, and cosmos as one. This three-way unity has sometimes been playfully called the Confucian “trinity”. In this relationship, the human is the heart – “xin 心” – that completes heaven and earth as a co-creator of their ecological processes. As Peking University PhD candidate Wu Ruihan said: “[Confucianism] doesn’t only mean to see yourself as part of the cosmos, but also that the cosmos is a part of you.”. These ethics are communal, encouraging people to care for the earth as they would care for themselves because, in fact, they are the same. Through self-cultivation, one comes into resonance with the earth and all its interdependent forces.

     

     

    Reconnecting with the earth and its processes benefits humans beyond surface level ecological stewardship. According to Tucker,  separating humans from religious ethics and cosmology has led to a sort of “schizophrenia” among students who constantly search for meaning and purpose. Tucker’s second project, The Journey of the Universe, is an Emmy award-winning film that tells evolutionary history as “a story in which we have a role, a part, a place.” In much the same interdisciplinary thread as her team’s first project, the film pioneers a new genre that bends modern science and a focus on human purpose and meaning to create “a new cosmology.” It attempts to imbue viewers with a new-found sense of purpose from an evolutionary standpoint.

     

     

    These two interdisciplinary projects share the common goal of creating a new ecological consciousness that is filled with meaning and purpose and grounded in modern science. Although the bridge building between religious ethics and modern science is a monumental task, Tucker believes it is an essential one. “I still have a lot of idealism… we have to imagine positive futures for ourselves” said Tucker. The hope is that by identifying common values, ideals, leadership, and persistence, humanity can reverse some of the worst ecological crises and move toward a more ethical, purpose-driven society.

     

    If you’re interested in learning more about professor Tucker’s project:

    Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

    Journey of the Universe

     

     

    Report written by Daniella Silva

    Video edited by Martina Poletti

     

     

     

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      #74 - Ecological Humanism: Enhancing human-Earth relations  SPEAKER Mary Evelyn TUCKER, Senior Lecturer and Senior Researcher, Yale University; Director, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology   DISCUSSANT WU Ruihan 吴蕊寒, PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy, Peking University   ABSTRACT   As our ecological challenges begin to multiply around the planet, we are seeking solutions beyond science…
      Tags: ecological, yale, humanism, processes, university, tucker, religions, science, earth, humans
    • 10000
      Mary Evelyn TUCKER  Mary Evelyn TUCKER Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar, Yale University   Professor Tucker received her PhD at Columbia University under the Confucian scholar William Theodore de Bary. She is now a senior lecturer at Yale University, where she has appointments in the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies…
      Tags: university, tucker, yale


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  • #74 – Ecological Humanism: Enhancing human-Earth relations

     

    SPEAKER

    Mary Evelyn TUCKER, Senior Lecturer and Senior Researcher, Yale University; Director, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

     

    DISCUSSANT

    WU Ruihan 吴蕊寒, PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy, Peking University

     

    ABSTRACT

     

    As our ecological challenges begin to multiply around the planet, we are seeking solutions beyond science and policy alone. While these are necessary to develop an awareness of the problems, we realise we also need broader humanistic and cultural perspectives as we seek solutions. “Ecological humanism” is a term that draws on evolutionary thought to suggest that we have arisen out of the dynamic unfolding of universe and Earth processes over billions of years. This gives us a perspective to be aligned with the creative processes of evolution. Moreover, Confucian and Daoist thought also suggest that the role of humans is to complete these processes in a manner that contributes to the flourishing of life. Our role then is to create forms of ecological humanism, namely mutually enhancing human-Earth relations. This discussion will focus on the potential synergy between evolutionary thought and Chinese thought in a way that highlights a positive path forward amid growing global challenges.

     

    SUGGESTED MATERIAL

    Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John Grim, Overview of World Religions and Ecology, Yale University, 2009 – link

    TEDxFGCU, Journey of the Universe, YouTube video – link

     

    VENUE

     

    Since Wilderness Cafè in Wudaokou is closing down his third floor and cannot host us anymore, for this event we will be hosted by Tsinghua SEM X-Elerator 清华经管学院-创业者加速器, at the entrance of Innoway Zhongguancun.

     

     

    Address:

    Innoway Zhongguancun, Haohai Building 3rd floor, Haidian East Street 36, Haidian, Beijing

    北京市海淀区海淀西大街36号中关村创业大街昊海楼写字楼3层

    Link on Baidu Maps

     

    *On the northern entrance of the Haohai building there’s the lift that will take you to the third floor, directly at the X-Elerator

     

    PLEASE TO RSVP CLICK HERE

    OR

    SCAN THIS QR CODE

     

    Our events are as usually for free, we kindly ask you to register in advance in order to help us in the organization of the venue, thanks!

    Registration will start at 6pm and close at 6.45, seats are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Arriving late won’t guarantee you a seat.

     

     

    Related Posts

    • 10000
      Mary Evelyn TUCKER  Mary Evelyn TUCKER Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar, Yale University   Professor Tucker received her PhD at Columbia University under the Confucian scholar William Theodore de Bary. She is now a senior lecturer at Yale University, where she has appointments in the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies…
      Tags: university, tucker, ecology, yale, senior, grim, john, mary, evelyn, religion


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  • Mary Evelyn TUCKER

     

    Mary Evelyn TUCKER

    Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar, Yale University

     

    Professor Tucker received her PhD at Columbia University under the Confucian scholar William Theodore de Bary. She is now a senior lecturer at Yale University, where she has appointments in the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Divinity School, as well as the Department of Religious Studies. Her special area of study is Asian religions. Her concern about the growing environmental challenges led her to help shape a new interdisciplinary field linking religion and ecology. Professor Tucker directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale with her husband, John Grim.

     

    She is the co-author of Journey of the Universe with Brian Thomas Swimme and the executive producer of the Emmy Award winning film with John Grim. The film is the centre piece of massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by Yale/Coursera, available also in Chinese. She has published several books on Confucianism including The Philosophy of Qi (Columbia University Press) and Moral and Spiritual Confucianism in Japanese Confucianism (SUNY). She has co-edited Confucianism and Ecology (Harvard University Press) and two volumes with Harvard and Peking University professor Tu Weiming on Confucian Spirituality (Crossroad). She has been a member of the Columbia University Seminar on Neo-Confucian Studies since chairing it from 1985-1989. She is also an associate of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard since 1995.


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  • #73 – Event Report – Ethics as Global Sustainability

     

    SPEAKERS

    Sebastiano MAFFETTONE, Professor of Political Philosophy, LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome

    WANG Jianbao 王建宝 Director, Center for the Humanities and Business Ethics, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business

     

    VIDEO INTERVIEW ( on YouTube)  

     

    REPORT

     

    Sustainability, in its various forms, has become the dominating concept of our era. As the world transitions through a range of different crises, the need for a sustainable society and economy keeps growing and affecting the ways in which actions are taken in these respective fields. An effective global governance for sustainability is also needed and achieving it is the responsibility of all countries; but considering the enormous range of bodies and the diversity of principles involved in this process, it becomes natural to ask, “which actions can, in fact, be considered ethical?”.

     

    Professor Sebastiano Maffettone, professor of Political Philosophy at LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome, and doctor Wang Jianbao, director of the Center for the Humanities and Business Ethics at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, addressed this question and raised some of the points in common with the diverging views present in the Western and Chinese discourses on ethics.

     

    As explained by Maffettone’s historical description, the Western concept of “general sustainability” has consistently evolved since 1968, when the word was first introduced and only part of public ethics. A following step was linked to the need for making capitalism, which was not called into question for what it is but for its form, more “human”. Business ethics stepped in and the stakeholder analysis became the new analytical tool for developing a strategic view of the human and institutional landscape of a project and to enlarge the circle of individuals involved. The internalization of business ethics then brought the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), according to which business ethics is not adopted through a top-down process, but it is now based within the firm. Moving forward, social enterprises, which have both historically and conceptually arrived later than CSR, moved their focus form having a “social responsibility” to the need for directing a social mission. While more recently, social impact investing practices, which were also mentioned in the latest EU meeting as one of its main goals, seem to have the capability to achieve excellent results, which would include the establishment of ethics in the business world and the decentralization of welfare, but are, however, hampered by the difficulties encountered in bringing together financial and social targets.

     

    All in all, what emerges from Maffettone’s speech is the fact that in order to achieve systemic sustainability, it is above all necessary to have stability within a just regime. A greater focus on a combination of different elements, such as environmental protection, technological innovation, education, etc., can be the means by which the three E0s on which sustainability is based – efficiency, equity and environment – can be obtained.

     

     

    His colleague Wang Jianbao pointed out that there are three different challenges that we are currently facing. First of all, the enormous gap between the wealthy and the poor hasn’t narrowed down and political and economic policies, as well as humanitarian efforts, are needed to help everyone benefit from globalization. The second challenge concerns social mobility. In China, where about 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty, social mobility is not as big an issue as it is in the rest of the world, where it seems that a solution is still far from being found. Finally, the question of how to carry out a global development that is fari and equal for all as well as sustainable at the same time, still persists.

     

    According to Wang Jianbao, what is substantially lacking is a sharable global values, since those concerning market economy and democracy have proved to be insufficient. The real challenge is therefore to be able to identify which of the principles and values already existing in today’s civilizations are appropriate for this purpose. In this sense, China could play a fundamental role. Understanding the identity of this country, which is ambiguous and complicated in the eyes of the outside world, could be the key to create a dialogue among civilizations and succeed in achieving sustainability beyond today’s mentality. In order to do so, it is first essential to grasp the ways and values of Confucianism, which shape the ideological structure of this country.

     

     

    It is on this particular point that the debate between the two scholars opened. On the one hand, Maffettone believed that the principles of Confucianism, which are shared by different cultures, are at the same time only one of the ways to achieve a common global goal. On the other hand, Wang argued that Confucianism is not a strategy, but it is the goals itself, the organizing system according to which the good and the bad, black and white, can coexist. This debate highlighted the complex nature of this case and a single consensus to the issue is yet to be reached.

     

     

    Report written by Chiara Cattaneo

     

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  • #72 – Event Report – The Middle East in China-US Relations

     

    SPEAKERS

     

    Juan COLE, Richard P.Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan

    Mohsen SHARIATINIA, Assistant Professor, Shahdid Beheshti National University of Iran

    Tugrul KESKIN, Professor and Director, Center for Global Governance, Institute of Global Studies, Shanghai University

     

    VIDEO INTERVIEW (on YouTube)  

     

     

    REPORT

     

    American foreign policy in the Middle East has gone through a process of transformation, starting from its first engagement at the beginning of the XX century with President Truman, when the United States was a relatively young global power trying to contain the communist threat, to the new liens of the current administration. According to Tugrul Keskin, Professor and Director of the Centre of Global Governance at Shanghai University’s Institute of Global Studies, with the decolonization process and the reshaping of territory, and after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Washington’s attention has shifted to their strategic alliances with ethnic and religious groups, “pro-democracy” movements and “civil society” organizations in the Middle East.

     

     

    The Gulf War between 1990 and 1991 accelerated the US grand strategic plan for the region, based on collaborations with local ethnic, religious, and opposition groups, as well as with NGOs and media organizations. However, the terrorist attacks of 2001 resulted in another change of direction in US foreign policy, which has since started focusing on the Greater Middle East Initiative for regime change in the region, which is directly in line with democracy promotion agenda with Reagan administration.

     

     

    Analyzing Washington’s current agenda and several steps it has taken in this area, Professor Keskin highlights how the present administration has shifted its position after appointing key figures in the government cabinet. With Mr. McMaster as the main strategic guide of US foreign policy, it is evident that President Trump has moved towards more established policies when addressing issues in the Middle East, compared to the more assertive and uncertain approach taken in his first years in power.

     

    A further analysis of Washington’s political élite, both Democratic and Republic, and their perspective on the President’s approach to the Middle East over the last two years, emphasizes that Trump should assess his stance in order to avoid being marginalized for his detached-from-the-status-quo” policies and actions in both domestic and foreign strategies, especially in view of next year’s presidential elections.

     

     

    According to Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, what typifies Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as the rest of his policies, is that they have proved divisive within his own administration. Although Trump increasingly favors the disentanglement of the United States from its previous commitments and tends to let other countries in the Middle East rely on their own resources for assistance, he is surrounded by a strongly globalist component, represented by the American national security establishment, which firmly believes in the role of NATO and the United States’ role as a security provider in the region.

     

    As Professor Cole observes, almost no one around Trump agrees with his policies, whether it’s the abolition of the Iran nuclear deal, his trade war with China, or, more generally, his policy of Offshore balancing. Following the defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria, Trump proposed the withdrawal of American troops, while the rest of Washington sustained that, as long as the terrorist organization remains a threat, withdrawing troops would not be a suitable alternative.

     

    These are among many examples of a divided administration, despite their attempts to reach a compromise with the President and secure a much needed resolution on these issues. Disagreements between Trump and his cabinet continue to play a major role in US foreign policy in the Middle East, and Trump’s being vocal about his own personal opinions on Twitter has only further complicated the situation.

     

     

    But what is China’s role in this complex and unsettled scenario?

    Assistant Professor Mohsen Shariatinia of the National University of Iran (Shahdid Beheshti) attests that there are two main forces that drive China-Middle East relations. The first is the complex interdependent structure of the relationship itself; Middle Eastern countries base their economic security on the oil market and mostly depend on Chinese imports. In addition, on international security issues, China and Middle Eastern countries are becoming more and more interdependent. The national security of both sides is increasingly dependent on sea lines of communication.

     

    The second factor worthy of consideration is the important role Middle Eastern countries play in the Belt and Road Initiative’s broader agenda. By connecting China and Europe, this region has always been a crucial geo-strategic centre and remains of fundamental importance in the execution of China’s BRI. Nevertheless, implications are not lacking and should not be underestimated, as neither the role that the United States plays in this setup. Washington is putting pressure on some countries in the region to stop cooperating with China and, as in the case of sanctions against Iran, is taking actions that hamper the involvement of key countries in the BRI.

     

     

    As for the possibility that China could take over as a security provider in the region? Shariatinia’s assessment is that as a result of a wide network of long-established alliances in the region and its interests in Israel, the United States will continue to hold the dominant role in the Middle East. As long as the US maintains this position, China will keep choosing to cooperate rather than deciding to step in as an alternative security provider, for the simple reason that the Middle East does not belong among Beijing’s core interests.

     

    Report written by Chiara Cattaneo

    Video interview edited by Martina Poletti

     

     

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  • #73 – Ethics as Global Sustainability

    SPEAKERS

    Sebastiano MAFFETTONE, Professor of Political Philosophy and Dean of the Political Science Department, LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome

    WANG Jianbao 王建宝 Director, Center for the Humanities and Business Ethics, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business

     

    ABSTRACT 

     

    The study of “sustainability”, understood not as some form of constraint to the “business as usual” but as an essential feature of any genuine social progress, is both a necessity and a challenge right now. Worldwide, sustainability is described as the relationship between present and future generations: we should leave behind the world as we found it (or maybe even better), therefore it’s fundamental to operate today by thinking as those that will live in the future. Apart from its “time” feature, sustainability should also be described along its “space” feature: the distinction between rich and poor people at present time, how business and political decisions taken by one part of the world are affecting other regions and their populations – – climate change being the hottest topic within this framework right now.

     

    Thanks to the insights of professor Sebastiano Maffettone, a world-wide renowned political philosopher, this event will give a critical reconstruction of the concept of sustainability and will stimulate a discussion on sustainability as an interdisciplinary concern for politics, ethics and economics. The basic thesis of the discussion will be that a systemic view of sustainability – what we have here called “global sustainability” – can be the best way to heal the tension between the world of public ethics and the world of economics and in essence provide the theoretical bases for mediation in the context of a renewed theory of value.

     

    Together with professor Maffettone, dr Wang Jianbao, director of the Center for the Humanities and Business Ethics of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, will help us frame these concepts within China’s economic and social development.

     

    ThinkINchina is a Wudaokou-based project, our events are hosted by a venue that just went into business, Wilderness Coffee – 荒野咖啡 in Chinese, the former Sculpting in Time.

     

     

    Wilderness Coffee, Wudaokou Chengfu Road, Huaqing Jiayuan 12 bldg

    From Wudaokou subway station, exit B, walks towards South

    北京市海淀区五道口成府路,华清嘉园12号楼2层

    五道口地铁站B口西南100米 – 原雕刻时光旧址

     

    PLEASE TO RSVP CLICK HERE

    OR

    SCAN THIS QR CODE

     

    As always, our events are free, we kindly ask you to register in advance for helping us in the organization of the venue, thanks!

    Registration will start at 6pm and close at 6.45, seats are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Arriving later won’t guarantee you a seat.

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  • Sebastiano MAFFETTONE

     

    Sebastiano MAFFETTONE

    Professor of Political Philosophy and Dean of the Political Science Department, LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome

     

     

    Sebastiano Maffettone is an Italian philosopher, currently University Professor at Luiss University of Rome and Visiting at Stanford University (US). He graduated from the University of Naples in 1970 and then he completed his graduate studies in social philosophy at the London School of Economics in 1976, under the supervision of philosophers such as Karl Popper and Amartya K. Sen.

    Maffettone translated in Italian John Rawls’ main work, A Theory of Justice. This book defined the focus of the philosophical problems that were to become the permanent themes of his life-long research (his introductory book on Rawls, published by Polity Press UK, is worldwide read and appreciated). Maffettone taught Rawls to generations of Italian and foreign students.

    Other themes of research concern international political philosophy and the relation between applied philosophy and liberalism. He has been founder and first president of SIFP (the Italian society of political philosophy), has founded the research centre POLITEIA and the humanitarian association Humanity (which he chaired), is director of CERSDU (research center on human rights) now called Center in Ethics and Global Politics at LUISS University, editor in chief of the journal Filosofia e Questioni Pubbliche (now in English as Philosophy & Public Issues). He has got many foreign appointments (among which Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, U-Penn, BC, Tufts, LSE, Mumbai, Moscow, Delhi and Paris Sciences-Po) and has written columns on many national newspapers (among which Corriere della Sera, Panorama, Espresso, il Sole 24 ore, il Mattino).

     


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  • WANG Jianbao

     

    WANG Jianbao 王建宝

    Director, Center for the Humanities and Business Ethics, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business

     

    Wang Jianbao is Associate Researcher of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies of Peking University and Director of Center for the Humanities and Business Ethics of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing.

    He graduated from the Department of Philosophy Studies and Religious Studies, Peking University in 2017 and received the Doctor Degree of Philosophy, under the supervision of professor Tu Weiming. He then became Director of the Program for the Discourse on Confucian Entrepreneurs of WEIB, the World Ethics Institute, at Peking University.

    Before joining the academia, Wang Jianbao has worked for twenty years as a mechanical engineer and expert on supply chain management in China and abroad.

     


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  • Tugrul KESKIN

    Tugrul KESKIN 

    Professor and Director, Center for Global Governance, Institute of Global Studies, Shanghai University.

     

    Tugrul Keskin is Associate Professor and Director of the newly established Center for Global Governance at Shanghai University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Virginia Tech, with graduate certificate degrees in African Studies, Social and Political Thought, and International Research and Development. He has been the graduate director at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Maltepe University in Turkey. He taught at the Department of International and Global Studies and at the Center for Turkish Studies at Portland State University, where he also served as the Middle East Studies coordinator for six years. His research and teaching interests include international and global studies, social and political theory, african society and politics, sociology of human rights, islamic movements, and sociology of the Middle East.

    Professor Keskin is also the founder and moderator of the Sociology of Islam mailing list, and the founder and editor of the Sociology of Islam (Brill journal) and region editor for Middle East and North Africa of Critical Sociology (Sage journal).

    Among his most recent publications: “Middle East Studies after September 11: Neo-Orientalism, American Hegemony and Academia“, Brill 2018; “U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East: from American Missionaries to the Islamic State“, Palgrave 2018.

     

     

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