The final day of “US-China at 40: Seeking A New Framework to Manage Bilateral Relations” was hosted by Emory University in association with the Carter Center on January 19th 2019. Bringing together some of the greatest minds across the political spectrum of China experts, speakers included managing partners from international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, leaders of Chinese industry, and famous academics, including Michael D. Swaine, David Shambaugh, Chas Freeman, and Wu Xinbo. Panel discussions throughout the day highlighted the successful efforts of the China program at the Carter Center, Emory University, and the Emory Chinese Student Association in fostering intercultural dialogue among a new generation of students and aspiring China scholars at Emory University.

Opening the event, the Emory University Student Body President, Dwight Ma, delivered an engaging speech underscoring the importance of student dialogue surrounding United States-Chinese relations, along with the important role of the Chinese Student Association in organizing the event. Ma later introduced Holli Semetko, Emory University’s Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Media and International Affairs, who spoke to the vital role of students in ensuring the future of United States’ policy towards China, along with the necessity of global cooperation between the two powers. Semetko also acknowledged the peculiar bias against China across academia in the United States, such as in a recent paper published by Princeton University academics decrying China as a “revisionist power.” Panelists would later echo Semetko’s sentiment.

Panel topics ranged from global security dynamics, such as the current United States military strategy towards China, the importance of global business ties, and the future of cooperative public health promotion. The diverse perspectives among panelists allowed for a highly nuanced discussion, and the panelists encouraged students to take a more active role in shaping the narrative surrounding United States-Chinese relations at their universities. At times, panelists expressed disappointment that the audience lacked much participation by American students which was, instead, overwhelmingly native Chinese.

It was a great pleasure to see so many professionals and China scholars participate in an engaging discussion about the future of United States-Chinese relations, and the conference will have certainly informed the perspectives of students at Emory University going forward. The fate of relations between the world’s largest superpowers may depend on it.

Max Abramson 21C – Abramson is an undergraduate at Emory University pursuing a degree in International and Global Development Studies. Abramson serves as the Managing Editor of the Emory Journal of Asian Studies.