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China’s Belt and Road Initiative is one of the most globally significant enterprises taking place in the world today. 

Exeter workshop addresses ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ challenges and opportunities

Scholars from prestigious Chinese institutions including Tsinghua University have visited the University of Exeter for a discussion of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The visit also saw the visiting academics take part in a joint conference with the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London on ‘Security and Stability on the New Silk Road’, alongside counterparts from Russia and Central Asia.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is one of the most globally significant enterprises taking place in the world today. Dr David Lewis, Director of Education at the University of Exeter’s Politics department said: “BRI is a multi-billion dollar initiative to build new infrastructure and trade routes around the globe. It is potentially the most transformative global project of the early 21st century, with significant economic, political and security implications.”

Academics attending these events were considering key questions related to the BRI initiative, such as international and domestic reactions to the enterprise; the impact BRI will have on Central Asia, and how this development might affect China’s relations with other global powers.

The Royal Institute for International Affairs focused on the evolution of BRI in Central Asia, and analysed Chinese and Russian policy towards the region.

Amongst the visitors to Exeter was Professor Shi Zhiqin, the Executive Director of the ‘One Belt, One Road Institute’ at Tsinghua University. Professor Shi is professor and chancellor of the School of Social Sciences at Tsinghua and former dean of the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University.  Tsinghua University is ranked 25 in the 2018 QS World University Rankings.

Other visitors included Dr Cao Jiahan a research fellow at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and co-executive editor of China Quarterly of International Strategic Studies (CQISS) and Dr Ma Bin, assistant professor of International Studies in Centre for Russia and Central Asia Studies at Fudan University.

Dr Lewis said: “The visit reflects Exeter’s long-standing commitment to forging international partnerships with universities in China to enable academic dialogue and improved understanding of emerging global challenges.”

A summary of the Chatham House event ‘Security and Stability on the New Silk Road’ can be read here.

Date: 19 July 2017

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