2009 - 2010 Schedule

Encountering China

Both an ancient civilization and a rising power, China presents some of the most complex questions facing the world today. China is home to one-fifth of the world's population, yet most Americans know remarkably little about its culture, heritage and growing role in world events. China's rise is one of the transformative events of our time, as well as one of the most important challenges facing U.S. foreign and economic policy.

Join the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues for our 2009-2010 season as we explore China from many perspectives.

Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th Street, Lincoln, NE

Doug Bereuter

"China's Trade and Soft Power Relationships with Asia and the United States - Reason to Worry?"

Doug Bereuter
Monday, September 14, 2009, 7 p.m.

Pre-talk: 6:30 p.m., Steinhart Room, Lied Center, John Anderson, Interim Dean and Baird Family Professor of Economics, UNL College of Business Administration

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The persistent issue of the United States' trade deficit with China is becoming more controversial as American manufacturing jobs are lost. Within that controversy lies the less-examined issue of the role of foreign investment in and the contribution of China's Asian neighbors to Chinese exports. Couple that with China's increasing focus on enhancing its soft power - often defined as the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion - and interesting questions arise. Is increasing Chinese soft power a zero sum game for the U.S.? Is the Chinese model of economic growth and political stability increasing attractive to the developing world? Doug Bereuter is uniquely qualified to provide insights into these questions and more.

As President and CEO of The Asia Foundation, Bereuter oversees an organization with 17 offices across Asia focused on improving civil society, women's empowerment, economic reform and development, international relations and more. Bereuter joined The Asia Foundation in 2004 following his resignation as Congressman representing Nebraska's First District, a position he held for 26 years. While in Congress, Bereuter co-founded the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and chaired a task force on the transition of Hong Kong and the House Delegation to the 40-country NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Kaiser Kuo

"Shouting Across the Chasm: Chinese and American Netizens Clash in Cyberspace"

Kaiser Kuo
Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 7 p.m.

The Lewis E. Harris Lecture on Public Policy

Pre-talk: 6:30 p.m., Steinhart Room, Lied Center, Andrew Wedeman, UNL Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair, Asian Studies

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Tibet, the Olympic Torch Run, the Olympics . . . the year 2008 offered unprecedented opportunities for Chinese and Anglophone Internet users to communicate. They were standing nose to virtual nose, but they were not, by any means, seeing eye-to-eye. Using the Internet as a starting point, Kaiser Kuo delves into a number of issues at the heart of disagreements on the people-to-people level.

Born in the U. S. to Chinese parents, Kuo lives in China and identifies equally as American and Chinese. Formerly director of digital strategy for the Beijing office of a global advertising agency, Kuo has worked as a technology and business writer for publications such as Time, TimeAsia, China Economic Review, Asia Inc., and the South China Morning Post, and currently serves as an advisor for Youku.com, a leading video sharing company in China. Kuo co-founded China's most famous rock band, Tang Dynasty, and continues to be active in the Chinese music scene.

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Dr. Susan Shirk

"China: Fragile Superpower"

Dr. Susan Shirk
Thursday, November 12, 2009, 7 p.m.

Pre-talk: 6:30 p.m., Steinhart Room, Lied Center, Andrew Wedeman, UNL Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair, Asian Studies

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Once a sleeping giant, China today is the world's fastest growing economy-- a dramatic turn-around that alarms many Westerners. Shirk's 2007 book, China: Fragile Superpower, explored the troubling paradox faced by China's leaders: the more developed and prosperous the country becomes, the more insecure and threatened they feel. Shirk, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for China, knows many of today's Chinese rulers personally and has studied them for three decades. In her Thompson Forum lecture, Shirk will give an update on the state of China's internal politics and the fears that motivate its leaders. Susan L. Shirk is Director of the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, and Professor at UC-San Diego's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. A leading authority on China, she has written numerous books and articles on this subject, including pieces that have appeared in Washington Post, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal.

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Richard Behar

"China in Africa: The New Scramble?"

Richard Behar
Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 7 p.m.

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Europe's rapid colonization of Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries came to be known as the "Scramble for Africa." Is China's increasing involvement in Africa the 21st century version? From Algeria to Zambia, from aluminum up the resource ladder to zinc, Behar, an award-winning investigative journalist, will discuss an economic model that is at once formidably efficient and tragically flawed and how China's new "scramble for Africa" is interlocked with America's economy.

Richard Behar has garnered 20 journalism awards over a career spanning 25 years. He was called "one of the most dogged of our watchdogs" by the late syndicated columnist Jack Anderson. Behar spent nine years with Fortune magazine, preceded by six years at Time and six years at Forbes. Prior to that, he was a stringer/researcher at the New York Times. Behar has also done assignments for BBC, CNN, FoxNews.com, Fast Company, and PBS.

The Wilson Lecture

"China Rising: Good or Bad News for U.S. Workers, Consumers and Investors?"

Postponed

Charles and Linda Wilson Dialogue on Domestic Issues

The Charles and Linda Wilson Dialogue on Domestic Issues that was originally scheduled for late February has been moved to fall 2010 to find a date suitable for all concerned. Senator Chuck Hagel and a senior Chinese diplomat have agreed to participate in this dialogue on, "China Rising: Good News or Bad News for U.S. Workers, Consumers and Investors?"

Related Video:

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Rob Gifford

"China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power"

Rob Gifford
Thursday, April 1, 2010, 7 p.m.

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Rob Gifford first went to China in 1987, as a 20 year old undergraduate, to study the Chinese language. He has spent much of the last twenty years living in and reporting on the rise of China, most recently as Beijing Correspondent of National Public Radio. In his recently-published book, China Road, he records a two month journey along Route 312, the Chinese equivalent of Route 66. The road flows three-thousand miles from east to west, passing through the factory towns of the coastal areas, through the rural heart of China, then up into the Gobi Desert, where it merges with the old Silk Road. The highway witnesses every part of the social and economic revolution that is turning China upside down.

Gifford tells the story of his journey through the lives of the colourful Chinese characters he meets along the way: garrulous talk show hosts and ambitious yuppies, impoverished peasants and tragic prostitutes, cellphone salesmen, AIDS patients and Tibetan monks. Using the road trip as a prism to view modern China, he asks bigger questions too: about where China is going, about who the Chinese people are, and about whether we in the West should be concerned about China's rise.

Now NPR's London correspondent, Gifford served as NPR's China correspondent from 1999-2005. Gifford holds degrees in Chinese Studies from Durham University (UK) and Regional Studies (East Asia) from Harvard University.

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Lied Center for Performing Arts, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Cooper Foundation

A cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, The Lied Center for Performing Arts and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln