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28 Jan: Connecting East and West - The Interpersonal Dimension

18 January 2019

The EU-Asia Centre, together with the Confucius Institute at the VUB and the Brussels Academy for China and European Studies, invite you to a panel discussion on public diplomacy with an emphasis on people-to-people connectivity. Academics, think tank experts, policymakers and renowned artists including the Oscar and Grammy laureate Maestro Tan Dun will share their views on the role of public diplomacy and artistic cooperation in bridging two continents.

Soft power and the role of culture and education in public diplomacy can be observed in different ways - from promoting connectivity and the exchange of cultural goods and services to promoting the value of intercultural dialogue in addressing challenges related to migration and radicalization. 

Both the EU and China are seeking to improve their image on the world stage with a variety of soft power tools, including the media, and through a range of cultural, educational, tech and sports events. China has invested enormous sums hosting the Olympics, expanding CGTN, boosting a range of state-led newspapers and by increasing the number of Confucius institutes in Europe. The EU has struggled to achieve an effective communications strategy, perhaps because of the many member states and perhaps because of inadequate financial resources.

How are the EU and China approaching public diplomacy? 
What are each party’s respective best practices?
What is the role of the EU’s connectivity strategy in promoting contacts on the individual level?
How important are culture and education in connecting East and West?
What may be the overarching geopolitical implications for EU-China relations?
Do artistic and cultural interests drive East-West cooperation? Or is the cultural agenda being instrumentalised to achieve political and security goals?

These and more questions will be discussed at two successive panels on 28 January 2019 at 16.00 at the Flagey Concert Hall, Place Saint-Croix, 1050 Brussels.

The first panel will examine public diplomacy through the lens of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the EU’s Connectivity Strategy. The second panel will consider how artistic cooperation, especially in music, can promote mutual understanding between varying cultures.

16:00-17:00   Panel I: Public diplomacy and connectivity 

Moderated by dr. Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Asia Centre
Ms. Shada Islam, Director for Europe and Geopolitics, Friends of Europe
Ms. Li Silong, Professor in Buddhist Philosophy and Associate Dean, Peking University
Ms. Cai Xiaoli, President, Asia-Pacific Women’s Association (FAWA)
Mr. Ville Varjola, Advisor to the Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, EEAS

17:00-17:20  Performance by award-winning artists Jean-Francois Maljean (piano) and Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin)

17:20-18:20   Panel II: Promoting inter-cultural understanding through artistic cooperation

Moderated by Mr. Wei Shen, Vice Chair of the EU-Asia Centre
Maestro Tan Dun, Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer, conductor 
Ms. Eldbjørg Hemsing, Norwegian violist
Ms. Marianne Løkke Jakobsen, Director, Music Confucius Institute, Royal Danish Academy of Music
Ms. Monica Urian, Policy Officer for EU-Asia Cultural Relations, DG EAC, European Commission

To register, click here.