Naim Dangoor Program Hosts Conferences in China
Date: 2012-08-28 Hour: 8:29
The Dr. Naim Dangoor for Universal Monotheism Program in the Faculty of Humanities at Bar-Ilan University recently held first-of-their-kind "Israel Studies in China" and "Future History" international conferences in Shanghai, commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Israel, and the establishment of Israel studies programs at Chinese universities across the country. The conferences were organized in collaboration with Shanghai International Studies University (SHISU), Fudan Institute in Shanghai and SIGNAL, Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership, and with the support of the Israeli foreign ministry and the Israeli consulate in Shanghai.
Dr. Danielle Gurevitch, Bar-Ilan University's Academic Project Director for Asian Affairs and the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, initiated the conference, along with Prof. Yang Yang, of SHISU, and Ms. Carice Witte, Executive Director of SIGNAL.
Nearly 30 leading Israeli and Chinese scholars, as well as Israeli and Chinese business executives and energy experts, presented at the conference. Among the Bar-Ilan University participants: Dr. Alon Levkowitz, Coordinator, South and East Asian Program in the Faculty of Humanities; Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Department of Arabic, Director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam and Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies; and Dr. Nir Kedar and Dr. Haim Shapira, of the Faculty of Law, as well as leading scholars from other Israeli Universities including Prof. Merom Medzini, of the Hebrew University and Prof. Fred Lazin, of Ben Gurion University.
Conference sessions on Israel Studies in China focused on two main topics: "Introducing One Ancient Civilization to Another" and "Future History: Civil Society vs. State from a Traditional and Modern Perspective" – exploring how Jewish and Chinese Civilization inform policy and relations of modern nation states. Moreover, three special panels were held, in which Israeli businesspeople and their Chinese counterparts took part. The three special panels discussed the Place of Innovation in Sino-Israeli Business, The Strategic Importance of Oil Alternatives, and a closed session on Energy Security. These special panels were sponsored by SIGNAL, an organization advancing Sino-Israel business affairs.
“The State of Israel attaches great importance to academic cooperation between Israel and China. For the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai, it is a high priority,” said Consul General Jackie Eldan, who also served as a keynote speaker at the conference. "This seminar touches upon relevant challenges for China and Israel, bringing our cooperation closer to help create a better society and a better future.”
Bilateral ties have flourished in the last few years as the State of Israel and the People’s Republic of China have understood the mutually- beneficial impact of stronger relations. Over the past six months, high-ranking delegations have visited China and Israel at unprecedented frequency.
Zvi Shalgo, CEO of PTL Group and Chairman of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, who spoke at a panel on Sino-Israel Business, said: “After three decades of focusing on industrial manufacturing oriented investments, dealing with small R&D oriented companies is a new experience for most cities in China.” Shalgo, an Israeli businessman who has worked in China since the mid-90s, reflected on his understanding of the opportunities and challenges that characterize the Sino-Israeli business arena. “As the Chinese and Israeli government make great financial efforts to encourage R&D cooperation between Israeli and Chinese companies, the two other critical factors, IP protection and talent development, lag behind,” Shalgo said. “The possibility of a small innovation-focused company coming to China can only be considered if and when IP will be strictly protected and, at the same time, a critical mass of R&D personnel will be available in its field of development."
Academic ties between Israel and China are also flourishing, as well as Israel studies at Chinese universities. Recently, the Dr. Naim Dangoor Program found that Jewish studies in itself attracted only few Chinese scholars. In an average university of 15,000 students like SHISU, only 14 students registered for Jewish studies programs every four years, and even fewer at Nanjing University. For this reason, the Program's advisors suggested an alternative -- to promote Jewish studies as part of the Center for Contemporary Sino-Israel Studies (CCSIS) in China. SHISU University was the first to accept the proposal and at least five additional universities are expected to follow suit in the upcoming academic year.
Bar-Ilan University is also offering the first training seminar for Chinese lecturers and professors to teach Israel Studies in China. Last year the first group of Chinese professors was trained at Bar-Ilan University in a unique full semester program, in order to provide them with specialization on Israel and Judaism so that they could teach related classes upon their return to China. The seminar is expected to continue in the next academic year, as well.
Additional conference participants included Amb. Chen Yonglong, former Chinese Ambassador to Israel; Mr. Qi Qianjin, Counselor, Department of West Asian and North African Affairs, Chinese Foreign Ministry, Beijing; Prof. Yang Yang, Director of Hebrew Studies, School of Oriental Languages, Shanghai International Studies University (SHISU); Prof. Yan Tinguo, Dean of Oriental Studies, SHISU; Mr. Paul Ross, Head of Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell; Ms. Limei Zhao, Managing Director, Infinity Group; Ms. Yu Piao, Partner FDI, M&A, Tian Yuan law firm;
Mr. Dorian Barak, Co-Founder, Indigo Strategic Partners and former head of Mergers & Acquisitions and International Development, Bank Hapoalim; Chinese business leader Mr. Allen Wan, Director, Bloomberg News China Bureau Chief; Prof. Lin Shangli, Vice President, Fudan University; Prof. Deng Zhenglai, Dean, Fudan-IAS
Mr. Ma Xiaolin, Chairman of the Board and President of blshe.com, Executive Director, China Foundation for International Studies, Beijing; Dr. Harold Rhode, Stonegate Institute, Washington; Dr. Micha’el Tanchum, Shalem Center, Jerusalem;
Prof. Yu Weidong, Deputy Director, Center for Shanghai Jewish Studies, Shanghai Academy, The Institute of International Relations and Social Science; Prof. Feng Qinghua, Vice President, SHISU University; Prof. Barry Rubin, Global Research in International Affairs, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya; Prof. Ye Hailin, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Mr. Zhao Hongtu, China Institute for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR); Prof. Liu Zhongmin, Director, Middle East Studies Institute, SHISU; Prof.Yin Gang, Institute of West Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing; and Mr. Yiftah Shapir, Institute for National Security Studies.