Searching for Answers Along China’s Belt and Road

November 29, 2018 - 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Jackson Ewing, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions (moderator), Prasenjit Duara, Dept. of History; Kang Liu, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies; Gary Gerrefi, Sociology; Zaineb Qazi, MEM Candidate at the Nicholas School

China’s touts its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as the largest international infrastructure project in human history. Drawing comparisons to post-WWII reconstruction in Europe, the BRI seeks to connect China to countries near and far over land and sea and is becoming a signature foreign policy enterprise for Chinese President Xi Jinping. Understanding this modern initiative requires considering China’s historical, cultural, and economic place in its traditional neighborhood and beyond.

This session contextualized the BRI as a revitalization of China’s longstanding efforts to shape its role regionally and globally. It showed the ways in which the BRI seeks to extend China’s cultural influence and soft power, and demonstrate how the BRI reveals China’s growing influence within the global economy. Finally, the session explored the BRI from the outside in, offering questions about its socioeconomic and environmental implications for recipient countries.


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  • Belt Road Initiative at Duke