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October 3, 2023

Responding To: Georgetown Students Share Thoughts on Spring 2023 Student Dialogue Experience with Peking University

Finding Common Ground Through Creative Thinking

Tanya Nagrath

The Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University provides a unique platform for discussing pressing global issues with the aim of fostering collaboration and cooperation between the two major powers. Amidst the uncertainty and competition that taint the U.S.-China relationship, the student-led dialogue offers an avenue to nurture mutual understanding through robust academic exchanges.

This year's dialogue placed emphasis on the “future of global development” and the respective initiatives promoted by the United States and China in pursuit of this goal. In the first session, the group undertook a comparative analysis of China's Global Development Initiative and the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Many different perspectives were presented, each equally compelling and relevant. The enthusiasm displayed by the cohort members and the quality of their contributions testify to the unparalleled learning opportunity the initiative provides. By the end of the session, we had gained a holistic understanding of the actions taken by both states and identified areas conducive to potential collaboration. Our willingness to brainstorm solutions from the beginning was inspiring and made me reflect on the power of cooperation and dialogue in effecting positive transformative change.

Subsequent interactions proved equally insightful. We were introduced to the intricacies and complexities that underpin global development cooperation, as well as the risk of progressive action being impeded by U.S.-China competition. We noted the importance of prioritizing areas of mutual interest, such as technology transfer, skill development, and capacity building for global development. The significance of multi-stakeholder participation at every stage was emphasized, as was the role of global platforms and forums in promoting joint action. After the third session, I came to realize that despite what may appear as irreconcilable differences between the approaches of the United States and China, common ground can still be achieved through innovative and creative thinking. I learned that challenging conventional discourse is of utmost importance in making space for novel ideas that hold the potential to bring about substantive change.

Most importantly, the guidance and expertise of our mentors and professors provided constructive direction to our discussions. Their inputs helped us build on our knowledge and enabled us to identify areas in the global development arena, such as climate change and poverty alleviation, that require urgent action. They also shared their personal experiences in diplomacy, negotiation, and strategic policy, specifically related to global development. This aspect of the program was the highlight as we gained insights not only from professors at Georgetown but also from Peking University.

My participation in the program, aside from being an enriching educational experience, provided an opportunity to build lasting relationships with our counterparts at Peking University in China. United by our common interests and concerns, we embark on a lifelong journey of mutual learning, ideation, and understanding, striving to create a better world as the leaders of tomorrow.

Tanya Nagrath (G'24) is pursuing a master of science in foreign service with a concentration in global politics and security, and two certifications in diplomatic studies and the Asian studies.

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