On 8 November the OSCE Academy conducted a workshop on 'China’s Belt & Road Initiative: Cross Regional Perspective'. The workshop was divided into three sessions: the first two sessions were organized in a classical panel form with each featuring three to four presenters, whereas the last attempted to engage into an open discussion of current trends and challenges in studying China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). The first two sessions provided a platform for experts from North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Japan and Hong Kong to present and compare Euro–Atlantic and Asian views on the BRI projects in different world regions. This comparison allowed contrasting the different perspectives that underline the academic work done today on China and its (new) foreign policy. Topics of China’s Debtbook Diplomacу; BRI and European Union; as well as the development, implementation and influence of the BRI in Asian countries were elaborated in these panels. In the third and final session experts discussed the current state of affairs in BRI studies in Central Asia and the lack of expertise in researching China in the region. It is expected that the cross-regional exchange can be further developed into a stimulus for local academia’s efforts to understand China’s strategies and activities in the wider region of Central Asia, and to further substantiate and accentuate Central Asia’s (academic) perspective of its Eastern neighbor.
Distinguished speakers participating at the conference were: Dr. Sam Parker, Blume Public Interest Scholar, Georgetown University Law Center, USA; Dr. Giuseppe Gabusi, University of Turin and T.wai-Torino World Affairs Institute, Italy; Mr. Haakon Fossum Sagbakken, Research Fellow, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Norway; Prof. Dr. Nikola Zivlak, Senior Vice President, Belt and Road Institute, Republic of Serbia and Associate Professor, Emlyon Business School, Shanghai, China; Dr. Cheng Ming Yu, Chairperson, Belt and Road Strategic Research Centre, University Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia; Dr. Pham Sy Thanh, Director of China Economic Program, Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research; Dr. Jun Kumakura, Research Fellow, Global Studies Group, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan; and Ms. Niva Yau Tsz Yan, Research Fellow, OSCE Academy.