A Brief Introduction to The 5th WFCS

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The World Forum on China Studies, co-sponsored by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China and the Shanghai Municipal Government, is a high-end academic event jointly organized by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and the Shanghai Municipal Information Office. This is an open international forum dedicated to reflecting on global challenges while fostering an informed understanding of China. Scholars of the China studies community worldwide are gathered biennially to engage in face-to-face communications, sharing their latest achievements in China studies and strengthening the friendly ties between China and the rest of the world.

The World Forum on China Studies, founded in 2004, has so far convened four times. The previous four forums focused primarily on highlighting the traditional Chinese culture for its application to the current-day agenda. “Harmony”, as a core value in Chinese culture, became a key word cutting through all the previous events. In addressing themes like “harmony but not uniformity”, “harmony in peace”, “harmony in cooperation”, and “harmony for common prosperity”, forum participants drew upon the perspectives and productions of China studies for interpreting the contemporary development in China, and for exploring its implications for the international community in the 21st century.

The first four forums made very positive influence within and beyond the academic community. Over one thousand scholars from around the world attended the heated discussions during the forums, with their panoramic viewpoints extensively covered by nearly one hundred major media, both Chinese and overseas. Key-note speakers of the forums have included Wofgang Clement, Hussein Elkamel, Daisaku Ikeda, Justin Yifu Lin, Lawrence Zunyi Liu, Nicholas Platt, David Shambaugh, Tan Chung, Mikhail Titarenko, Patricia Uberoi, Ezra Volgel, Shahid Yusuf, Zheng Yongnian, etc.

The 5th World Forum on China Studies takes place at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, Shanghai during March 23-24, 2013. Themed on “China’s Modernization: Road and Prospect”, this Forum attracts about 240 scholars and opinion-leaders from various fields and disciplines to study the development of China and its characteristics in the context of modernization, the prospect of the Chinese transformation following the most recent leadership transition, and the way of harmonious co-existence between China and the rest of the world in the backdrop of globalization. The intent of coping with these major issues is to increase our knowledge of the Chinese national conditions, both past and present, and to expand the consensus and cooperation between China and other countries.

The two-day Forum consists of an opening plenary session, three roundtable workshops, eight panels, and a concluding plenary session. The three roundtable workshops address the road of Chinese development including its prospect in the perspectives of international relations, domestic structural transition, and historical and cultural transformation. The eight panels, dealing with aspects of economy, politics, society, history and culture, ecology, diplomacy, communications, and China studies, are to review China’s performance over the past three decades, to assess the direction and dynamics of China’s continued modernization in the coming decade, to probe the way of China’s further integration into the global economy and global governance, and to examine the development and methodology of China studies today.

Of the around 240 scholars and opinion-leaders attending the Forum, nearly half of them are overseas participants, coming from over 20 countries and regions. Some renowned figures of both academic and other fields are invited to make key-note addresses, relating to:

Implications, both real and imagined, of China’s rise to the political and economic landscape of the world;

Prospect of shared prosperity of the Chinese and other emerging economies in particular;

Role of the domestic Chinese consumption in sustaining an expected recovery of the world economy;

Direction of China’s further reform and the future evolution of democracy with Chinese characteristics;

Chinese culture and values and their dissemination to the international community;

Efforts and approaches to construct a community of interests involving China and her neighbors;

China studies as an emerging scholarship to integrate the intellect of diverse disciplines to interpret China.

At the opening ceremony of the 5th Forum, the Award for Outstanding Contributions to China Studies will be presented for a second time to the most distinguished scholars in the China studies community. This is an award of the highest honor established by the Chinese authorities in the field of humanities and social sciences to promote China studies overseas and to facilitate the friendly interchange between China and other countries. At the 4th Forum when the award was initiated, the winners of the award were Jacques Gernet, formerly Deputy Administrator of Far East Institute, College of France; Philip A. Kuhn, Professor Emeritus, History and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University; Kazuko Mori, Professor Emeritus, Waseda University; and Igor Rogachev, Member of the Council of Federation, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The 5th Forum will award the honor to three leading scholars in the field, who are to win respectively the Award for Outstanding Contributions to China Studies and a newly founded the Award for Outstanding Contributions to China Studies by Overseas Chinese.

We look forward to a most enlightening gathering at the upcoming 5th World Forum of China Studies, and the most exciting achievements in the field of China studies worldwide.

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