Angela Hayes | December 19, 2022
Looking Towards the Future
As a third culture kid, I have seen firsthand the impact of intercultural dialogue, so it was wonderful to participate in the U.S.-China Student-to-Student Dialogue. Our discussions began on the topic of development through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, continued through China’s Global Development Initiative and the challenge of clean energy, and ended on the topic of natural disasters and the U.S. response to global development. Multiple perspectives, cultures, and ideas shaped the discussion, and it was informative to hear the agreements and dissents from both Fudan University and Georgetown University. As students, we are constantly learning and refining our view of the world and this experience furthered this.
As we discussed the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it was clear all participants could agree the individual priorities were important, but we questioned whether they could all be accomplished in the timeframe set by the UN. When thinking about how the United States and China could partner to alleviate poverty globally, all small groups noticed the inward shift of both countries due to struggling domestic economies. Chinese and American contributions have been instrumental to global development but often have different political motivations for doing so. Differing views of what constitutes global development initiatives also impact the conversation as the Chinese government’s view of the Belt and Road Initiative may not be fully shared with their American peers. However, what brought our conversation together was the unifying need for climate change initiatives by two leading industrial powers.
The quest for common ground on climate change initiatives is a promising one. The United States has maintained a rival status quo with China, but there are multiple ways in which the United States and China could partner on clean energy initiatives. Technological, educational, and entrepreneurial partnerships would utilize the best of Chinese and American innovation. However, intellectual property theft has been a long-standing issue that could hurt Sino-American relations. In an era of multiple climate agreements, the failure of participant countries to fully implement them has hampered progress. All participants were in favor of the United States and China throwing more weight behind implementing the climate agreements, to showcase solidarity and set an example.
As we look toward the future, all eyes are on U.S.-China partnerships to ensure stability and progress. By the United States and China working together for the common goal of global security and increased development across the world there will be less conflict. Collaboration between the two nations would greatly benefit them on the international stage by showing two powerful nations working on global issues. Further, the two nations are currently entangled in trade agreements so need to take the next step in their partnership by working together on joint humanitarian efforts and climate cooperation. Without partnership, a competitive rivalry could escalate, an option neither side would like to pursue.
Throughout our weekly discussions, I was encouraged by the openness of the participants and their willingness to collaborate on often difficult topics. Once again, the power of intercultural dialogue opened the doors to new possibilities and hopes that we hope to see implemented in our lifetime.
Jasmine Terry (MAAS'22)is a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Arab Studies program at Georgetown University. She is interested in the intersection of comparative politics, democratic initiatives abroad, and the Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East and Africa.
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