Two East-West Centres – one from China and one from Australia –joined forces for the second year in a row to explore the relevance of Confucian thought in today’s world. After being launched at Australia’s Bond University in May 2015, the second of the Confucianism Symposiums was held in Beijing on October 8 and 9, 2016. Representatives from seven countries united to attend the 2016 Confucianism Symposium, a joint collaboration between Centre for East West Relations at Beijing Foreign Studies University and Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies at Bond University. A collective perspective was apparent among China, Australia, India, South Korea, Singapore, Africa and Germany: Confucianism has exerted great influence on modern economic activity and governance and is transferable to western culture and society.
Professor and Pro-Vice Chancellor Raoul Mortley from Bond University launched the Opening Ceremony with acknowledgements to the organising committee, expert speakers and guests. He noted this second Symposium of the joint collaboration was successful in strengthening the ties between both universities and its scholars. Vice President of Beijing Foreign Studies University, Professor Sun Youzhong, continued with the Opening Ceremony to also welcome all representatives and wish the Symposium a great success.
Internationally renowned Confucian scholar, Professor Roger Ames from Beijing University, gave the inaugural keynote speech. He discussed Confucian Role Ethics and the challenges posed Individualism. Over the course of two days many stimulating topics, pertaining to the theme of “Confucianism, Governance and Emerging Economic Order”, were explored. Among them were the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative, Socialism with Chinese characteristics, the concept of Hope in Human Culture as an East-West comparison, and adaptive Confucian relationships. Professor Daniel Bell from Tsinghua University concluded the conference with the closing keynote speech: Democracy and Meritocracy as a political model in China.
As the world continues to globalise rapidly, with its complex interdependence, the need for a more responsive governance system is becoming increasingly evident. The 2016 Confucianism Symposium generated open discussion into how Confucian philosophy, including its modern variants , can play an influential role in governing the globe more efficiently and harmoniously.
Thank you to all the representatives for contributing expert knowledge to the conference. Information regarding the 2017 Confucianism Symposium held at Bond University, Australia will be released in due course via the Confucian Weekly Bulletin.