The General Education office (GEO) and the Centre of Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS) held an international academic conference that was titled ‘Alterity & Connectivity: The Cultural Relationality between China and the West’ on 23 November at UIC.

A total of 36 scholars and academics of 15 institutions from across the world participated in the conference.

20191123GEOConference5

Group photo of the participants of the conference

The day started off with an opening speech by UIC President, Prof Tang Tao. President Tang addressed the purpose of the event, which was to break down the barriers of ‘otherness’ and celebrate the ‘togetherness’ of connections and of friendship. “We hope that the cultural differences and misunderstandings can be overcome, by way of a ‘Conversation of Civilisations’,” he said.

20191123GEOConference1

President Tang Tao welcoming the participants to the conference

Following President Tang was the Acting Director of the GEO, Dr Shawn Wang. He explained how the dialogue at the conference may help promote further friendly exchanges among higher education institutions, and facilitate broad connections along the ‘Belt and Road’.

20191123GEOConference2

Dr Shawn Wang explaining the meaning of the conference 

The MC’s and co-organisers of the event Associate professors, Dr Milen Jissov and Dr Siu-Han Chan remarked how excited they were for this event to finally be taking place after years of planning. The opening ceremony concluded with a photo taking and gift giving session before moving onto the first keynote address.

Professor at the Institute of Philosophy of Taiwan Sun Yat-sen University, Prof Fabian Heubel gave the first keynote speech. His speech was titled, ‘Hybrid Modernisation and Transformative Subjectivity’. He explained that the concept pertains to the dynamic of transcultural relations between internal and external resources that have been constitute of political and cultural developments in China since the nineteenth century.

20191123GEOConference3

Prof Heubel enlightening the audience on his research 

The second keynote speaker was UIC Associate Vice President, Prof George Wei. His speech titled ‘A Comparative View of Eastern-Western Cultures and Ideas of International Order’ was about critically comparing Chinese civilisation, political culture and diplomacy with that of the West, as well as China’s traditional suzerain-vassle system and the Westphalian system of the West.

20191123GEOConference4

Prof Wei capturing the audience's attention during his lecture

There were 29 presentations during the panels with a mix of UIC staff and students as well as visiting scholars. The day was interactive with numerous comments and questions being asked and added by the attendees after all the panels and keynote speeches.

20191123GEOConference8

20191123GEOConference9

20191123GEOConference7

20191123GEOConference6

20191123GEOConference11

20191123GEOConference10

Various particapants presenting at the conference

At the end of the day the MC’s announced that they are planning on turning the papers of this conference into a journal/book. The day ended with a huge round of applause and many words of gratitude to organisers, keynote speakers, panellists and attendees.

Reporter/ Photographer: Lauren Richardson, Covee Wang
Editors: Deen He, Samuel Burgess
(from MPRO)