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“Academic Alliance” of “Belt and Road” Countries

On October 13 and 14, an “Academic Alliance” consisting of schools of political science and international relations in a number of countries along China’s “Belt and Road” initiative was formally established at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Deans of the schools of political science and international relations from 13 countries including China, Russia, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, Hungary, Poland, and Latvia met together to discuss the “Belt and Road” initiative and the development of a new international relationship, as well as possible international academic cooperation.

Su Changhe, executive dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University, said that emerging countries and developing countries are important forces in the development of new international relations, but these countries lack adequate understanding of each other. Using the means of international cooperation and education in international relations, schools of political science and international relations in these countries can play a leading role in conducting unofficial exchanges, helping reduce the deficit in mutual understandings, and fostering the basis for public opinion for common development.

The School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University initiated the alliance. Su Changhe proposed that the academic alliance should be a network for students and scholars and should adhere to the “4C” concept, that is, “comfort,” “cooperation,” a “community of mutual understanding,” and a “connective network.” Su believes that the alliance is an inclusive and informal organization that puts “comfort” first, meaning that no ideology or political standpoint is imposed in the academic exchanges, and that it’s a pragmatic cooperation on an equal and comfortable basis. The deans attending the conference put forward nearly 40 valuable proposals for the future of the alliance, including strengthening student and teacher communication, credit transfer, multinational dual degree programs, summer schools, scholars’ field research, remote online courses, and an exchange of scholars to give lectures on each country’s governance and politics.

Dody Prayogo, Associate Dean of the School of Social and Political Studies at the University of Indonesia, suggested the creation of a “Belt and Road” international journal. Mohammad Takhshid, from the Faculty of Law and Politics at the University of Tehran, wished that this academic network would be gradually and formally organized in the future.

Source: The Paper, October 16, 2018