NDI hosts virtual conference with SISU on China's "Soft" Cooperation with Africa

Author: Reagan Li

Notre Dame International and the Notre Dame Beijing Global Gateway, in partnership with the Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies at the Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) in China, hosted a virtual conference on China's "Soft" Cooperation with Africa on October 19. The half-day conference brought together renowned scholars from China, Africa, the United States, and Europe to discuss China-Africa media, educational and cultural relations with Africans, and place them in the context of China’s larger strategic engagement with Africa and the developing world more broadly. 

“Due to COVID-19, international travel restrictions and post-entry quarantine policies have created many obstacles to US-China academic exchanges and visits,” says Jingyu Wang, executive director of the Beijing Global Gateway. “At this difficult time, as one of Notre Dame’s global locations, the Gateway is honored to serve as a Notre Dame ‘embassy’ in China to support the University's departments, faculty, and staff in organizing China-related events and activities, conducting local outreach, hosting Chinese collaborators at the Gateway, etc. Organizing this global academic conference in partnership with SISU is a good example of the Gateway’s important role.”

“It was indeed a global webinar with high efficiency and inclusive diversity. We had 14 speakers scattered in 6 time zones from 7 countries covering 4 continents. This event provided a perfect model of multi-cooperation of academic exchange in the new situation,” says Duanyong Wang, associate professor at SISU and one of the two faculty organizers of the conference. “It also showed where there is a will there is a way, especially when we have such an excellent team. Therefore, it encourages us to continue working together to boost China-US-Africa collaboration.”

The conference was conducted in English and attracted attendees from 26 different countries. In addition to the Beijing Global Gateway, the conference was made possible by the events, communications, and IT teams of Notre Dame International and the staff at SISU.

“It was wonderful to work with colleagues at SISU to bring together scholars from South Bend, to Accra, to Shanghai to share their research and exchange ideas on China-Africa relations,” says Joshua Eisenman, associate professor of politics at the Keough School of Global Affairs and one of the two faculty organizers of the conference. “It's an example of how and why we should work together to preserve and pursue US-China educational and scholarly exchanges.”

“The Beijing Global Gateway welcomes more Notre Dame colleagues to contact us in collaborating on virtual or hybrid events,” Jingyu Wang says.

Watch the event here