One Belt/One Road in Historical and Global Context

Date: 

Thursday, September 14, 2017, 4:15pm

Location: 

S020, Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge

The new Asia Center Series, Asia Beyond the Headlines, takes a deeper look at urgent contemporary issues that cut across Asia. In the inaugural presentation, leading scholars put China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the context of analogous programs that have changed human history. The land portion of Belt and Road attempts to recreate the glory of the old Silk Road and the reshaping of the Eurasian political economy by one of history’s greatest globalizer, Genghis Khan, who eliminated barriers and, for the first time, created common standards for all ethnicities and nationalities. Harvard Vice Provost of International Affairs Mark Elliott will explore analogies between BRI and the old Silk Road. Similarly, Harvard Fairbank Center Director Michael Szonyi will compare the maritime BRI to the explorations of Chinese Admiral Zheng He in the 1400s. Asia Center Senior Fellow William Overholt will argue , controversially, that BRI is in critical ways an extension of the Bretton Woods system that won the Cold War for the U.S. The session will be chaired by Harvard-Yenching Institute Director Elizabeth Perry, who will call attention to South Asian precedents for BRI.

Beyond the Headlines