July 7, 2019

"China and the Middle East/Mediterranean: Contemporary Perspectives" - Conference and Workshop (July 7-12, 2019)

Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
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This event was born out of the fruitful and effective cooperation between the Department of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University; the TOChina Hub’s ChinaMed Research Program; the Center for Mediterranean Area Studies (CMAS), Peking University; and, the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University.

The participants include top scholars and experts from Europe, the United States, China, and the Middle East, as well as a small group of 20 selected graduate students with a background in international and regional studies (Middle East and Asia/China in particular).

We share a vision of the Middle East and the Mediterranean regions as closely connected with each other and, increasingly, with China. This is why we have chosen to address them in conjunction as the “Mid-Med.” Our goals for this event are to establish long-term research networks, to exchange ideas and promote new research on how China views its engagement in the “Mid-Med,” and how the “Mid-Med” views China’s engagement in these regions, as well as on concrete activities and policies related to these reciprocal views.  

On July 7, a shuttle bus will pick you up at the hotel to bring you to Tel Aviv University. There, after brief opening remarks, experts and scholars from all over the world will share their research and discuss four key topics: “Great Power Competition in the New Era,” “China and the Middle East,” “China and the Mediterranean Region,” and “China and the Belt and Road’s Functional Infrastructure.” After an intense day of conference proceedings, all the participants (speakers and students) will gather for a lovely barbecue dinner on the balcony of the Webb Building.

The following day (July 8), we will gather in the morning for a visit to the Port of Haifa. The visit was made possible thanks to the support of the Israeli Administration of Shipping and Ports – Capt. Yigal Maor. In the afternoon, we will visit the charming city of Acre, a historic walled port-city with continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. The Old City of Acre is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in recognition of the remains of the Crusader town both above and below street level. Moreover, the city is one of the region’s few surviving Ottoman walled towns with citadels, mosques, khans, and baths. In the evening, we will drive back to Tel Aviv and enjoy some free time.

On July 9-10, we will have lectures and a roundtable discussion (you can find the detailed program below). The scenario building exercise will be conducted on July 11. You can find the bibliographical information for all the readings on page 26 of this booklet, and you may download all the materials from Google Drive (link).

Finally, during the morning of July 12, the students will present the previously assigned drafts of their reports on the panels/lectures (detailed explanations were provided separately). In the afternoon, we will drive to the Old City of Jaffa, where we will have a short tour, the closing ceremony, and final dinner.

Organizing Institutions:

ChinaMed Research Program (TOChina Hub)

The Center for Mediterranean Area Studies (CMAS) at Peking University

The Department of East Asian Studies (EAS), Tel Aviv University

The Moshe Dayan Center (MDC) for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University

Participating Scholars and Experts (in alphabetical order):

• Alessandro Fergnani (Head of Scenario Consulting, Shaping Tomorrow)

• Dr. Altay Atli (Lecturer, Koç University; Partner, Reanda Turkey)

• Dr. Andrea Ghiselli (Researcher, Fudan University; Project Manager, ChinaMed Project)

• Dr. Andrew Scobell (Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation)

• Dr. Aron Shai (Pro-Rector and Shoul N. Eisenberg Professor, Tel Aviv University)

• Dr. Brandon Friedman (Director of Research, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University)

• Dr. Douglas Paal (Vice-President for studies and Director of the Asia Programme, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

• Dr. Enrico Fardella (Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Mediterranean Area Studies, Peking University; Director, ChinaMed Project)

• Dr. Gad Ariav (Retired Associate Professor, Tel Aviv University)

• Dr. Ivan Timofeev (Director of Programs, Russian International Affairs Council)

• Dr. Marina Skordeli (Director, Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the University of Athens)

• Massimo De Andreis (Chief Director, SRM; President, Italian Society of Business Economists).

• Major-General (Ret.) Matan Vilnai

• Onno De Jong (Advisor, Ecorys)

• Dr. Ori Sela (Senior Lecturer, Tel Aviv University)

• Dr. Paul Rivlin (Senior Research Fellow, MDC for Middle Eastern and African Studies)

• Dr. Shi Yinhong (Professor and Director of the Center on American Studies, Renmin University of China)

• Dr. Wu Bingbing (Senior Research Fellow, Institute for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University, Deputy Director, Department of Arabic Language and Culture at Peking University; Director, Institute of Arab-Islamic Studies at Peking University)

• Capt. Yigal Maor (Director General, Administration of Shipping and Ports (ASP) of the Israeli Ministry of Transport)

• Dr. Yoram Evron (Senior Lecturer, University of Haifa)

• Zeno D’Agostino (President, Trieste Port Authority)

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