(by Débora Terra)
The Third PRIMO conceptual workshop took place at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at FUDAN University (FUDAN) in Shanghai, P. R. China, from 01 to 05 June. During the five day workshop, PRIMO ESRs and ERs, local students and fellow academics learned and discussed about Chinese and contested views on IR and (re-) emerging powers – regional or global.
Presentations were held by academics from different institutions present in Eurasian countries, in the format of one hour presentations and space for Q&A at the end. During the first day, Professor Chen Zhimin and Professor Chen Yugang, both from Fudan University, welcomed students and lecturers. The following presentations were given by Professor Chen Zhimin, Professor Pan Zhongqi and Professor Tang Shiping, all from Fudan University as well. The presentations focused in particular on different aspects of Chinese views on IR, ranging from ideas on world orders – specifically about the role(s) of EU and China and Liberal World Order, Chinese foreign policy under Xi Jinping´s leadership, to Chinese views on the evolution of Theory of International Politics.
The second day focused on Global and Regional politics. During the morning, Professor Cord Jakobeit (Hamburg University) enlightened students about the main strategies of emerging powers in global politics and Professor Başak Kale (METU) spoke about Turkey´s place in the multipolar order, in particular about how to locate and why. During the afternoon sections, PRIMO ESRs had the great opportunity to present their projects to Fudan academics and students, debating and exchanging ideas. To me personally, that was the moment when I understood how Chinese academia related to our specific topics. The third day concentrated on (re-)emerging powers, their concepts and institutions. Lectures were held by Professor Bruno Reis (ICS-UL), Zhu Jiejin (FUDAN) and Alexandra Koval (SPBU). The topics covered Brazil as a normative power and the RwP initiative, BRICS and their financing relations – in particular the New Development Bank, and Russia as a re-emerging power and its relations in multilateral organizations (i.e.: BRICS, G-8 and G-20).
The fourth day concentrated on contested views on IR among the existing and (re-)emerging powers. Professor Su Changhe, Zheng Yu and Song Guoyou, all from Fudan, addressed a Chinese perspective on important theories and concepts in IR, and particularly spoke about the challenges of Chinese School of IR and China´s economic diplomacy. A special section given by PRIMO ERs took place in the last section of the third and fourth day: Beverley Loke (OXFORD) and Faiz Sheikh (Hamburg University) tought students in the concepts of great power responsibility and post-colonialism. Their sessions were held in such creative and spontaneous ways. During the fifth and last day, the only lecture was given by Professor Ding Chun (FUDAN) and he addressed strengths and challenges of the EU-China economic relations after the debt crisis. After closing remarks and the welcoming of future endeavors in China by Professor Chen Yugang (FUDAN), PRIMO ESRs and ERs went to see a bit of the city´s most known places and enjoyed a lovely and sunny Friday in Shanghai.
Besides the lectures and exchange of ideas during these five days, PRIMO ESRs and ERs, FUDAN students and fellow academics enjoyed a welcoming and good-bye dinner, which both served as perfect opportunities to exchange cultural insights, enjoy local gastronomy, and great stories. In general, the workshop offered incredible and fruitful discussions, specifically on the study of non-western views on IR with a focus on the view from China. Particularly, we have learned the importance of economic diplomacy for China´s foreign policy – regionally and internationally.