On Sunday, the third Yale U.S.-China Forum — a series of keynote speeches and panel discussions on legal, economic and environmental issues that the U.S. and China share — drew over 200 people to the Yale School of Management. The forum, which featured speakers from both the Yale faculty and corporations with business in China, was commended by several participants interviewed as a timely and meaningful dialogue. The audience included faculty, students and professionals both from inside and outside of the Yale community.
During the first panel, which focused on issues of legal and economic reform in China, David Wertime ’01 discussed the communication dynamics between the U.S. and China.
“Although [the U.S. and China] are codependent, they rarely speak to one another,” Wertime said.
During the same panel, Jamie Horsley, executive director at the China Center of the Yale Law School, discussed the steps China has made to make its firms and corporations comply with the laws. The more China becomes law-abiding at home, the more China can be expected to be a transparent partner for both the U.S. and other countries in the world, Horsley said.
In the keynote speech, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy Professor Daniel Esty said it is good for these conversations to take place on a campus like Yale’s, where Chinese students have a significant presence and can bring the community together in thinking about how China and the U.S. can collaborate on world-scale political issues.
Linshu Li, GRD ’19, deputy president of the organizing committee for the forum, said the main goal for this year’s edition was to pick up momentum and to annualize the forum, which had been held most recently in 2012.
“What Yale had during 2011 and 2012 was unique,” Li said. “Now almost every Ivy League hosts a China-oriented forum.”
Li said the organizing committee worked hard to inject a “Yale character” into the forum by bringing in Yale’s experts. The forum focused on the bilateral relationship rather than China alone, he said, and it emphasized practical issues rather than big-picture theories. This is what separated Yale’s forum from its counterparts at other universities, Li added.
Li said that in particular, he was inspired to revive the forum by University President Peter Salovey’s meeting with China’s Vice Premier Yandong Liu in Beijing last October. According to an article in Xinhuanet — the Chinese news authority — from last October, Liu said in her meeting with Salovey that she wished Yale could promote more personal exchanges to help build a new model of U.S.-China relations.
Yale has the resources to help strengthen the U.S.-China partnership, Li said. He cited the law school’s China Law Center, the collaboration between Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and China’s Tsinghua University, as well as the Yale Center Beijing, as examples of these avenues.
Dan Murphy, director of programs at the Yale Center Beijing, said he is excited to see the Yale U.S.-China Forum revived. He added that the center looks forward to the possibility of expanding the forum to China.
Stephen Roach — the former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and a professor at the School of Management who teaches a class titled “The Next China” — said the forum is a step forward in building the relationship between Yale and China, but cautioned that it will not be an immediate breakthrough.
“I think it is pretty informative because it presents different views from different types of [people]” Xiaodong Zhu, GRD ’18 said.
The forum was co-organized by the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Yale, the China Economic Forum, Chinese Undergraduate Students at Yale and the Greater China Club.