This week, a delegation of prominent Chinese officials and academics visited Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings with their Israeli counterparts in government, academia and policy-making circles.
The news has been making its rounds in media outlets across the world. Herewith, a round-up of some of the articles published thus far:
- The Chinese Discover Jews and Israel and Can’t Seem to Get Enough Forward
- Chinese academics here to learn about Israeli innovation Jerusalem Post
- China Aims to Avoid U.S. Errors as It Deepens Mideast Role, Scholar Says The Media Line (Be sure to check out the video on the far left!)
- Leading Chinese Officials in Israel to Boost Ties Ynetnews.com
- Leading Chinese Officials and Academics in Israel to Meet Top Leaders and Strengthen Bilateral Ties eJewishPhilanthropy
- Weekend Report David Zeev, Kol Israel English
- Travels to China, Part Two: China Patterns CLSFF Blog
The study tour—a partnership between our Foundation and Project Interchange—is intended to strengthen bilateral ties, with a special focus on Israeli strategic affairs, the peace process, Iran and Israel study programs in China.
|The delegation met with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to explore avenues for expanding bilateral collaboration. “I hope that during your visit to Israel, you have felt the great friendship and admiration that Israel and the Israeli people feel towards China and the Chinese people,” said Ayalon, who visited China in October.
Yitzchak Harari/Israel Sun 19-01-2011
While there, the 10 members of the Chinese delegation are meeting with influential figures across the political and social spectrum, including Israeli leaders and members of the Knesset, such as Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, as well as Palestinian and Israeli Arab leaders.
In addition to senior-level meetings with their counterparts at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the delegation will traverse much of Israel, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Northern border and the Dead Sea for a first-hand look at Israel “beyond-the-headlines.”
The six-day visit marks the culmination of an intensive immersion seminar our Foundation hosted in Shanghai in late December, when 35 Chinese policymakers, government advisors and academics met with leading Israeli scholars to explore Israeli politics, history and culture. Sandy was on the ground for the seminar, which he described in his recent blog post, Travels to China, Part Two: China Patterns.
“The seminar offered a forum for an open, frank conversation about important issues of mutual interest for China and Israel,” Sandy said. “It was an especially important exchange because the people present have a direct hand in shaping Chinese policy toward the Middle East.”
We first became involved in efforts to enhance Sino-Israel relations in 2009 by sponsoring two seminars, one at Peking University and one at Shandong University, for more than 130 senior academics, journalists and think tank scholars. Leading Israeli professors joined both seminars, marking the first opportunity for Chinese scholars of Israel, the Middle East and Judaism to communicate and engage with Israeli scholars.
These contacts bore important fruit. After the 2009 seminars:
- The Peking University Academic Committee approved and seed-funded an Institute for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and elevated the status of the Hebrew Language program;
- Shandong University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tel Aviv University to establish an exchange program; and
- An unprecedented compilation of academic articles on contemporary Israeli politics, Zionist history and Israeli society was published in Chinese.
While much progress has been made in Sino-Israel relations since 1992 when the two countries established diplomatic ties, much work remains to strengthen the bilateral relationship, which the Chinese still view as part of the overarching Sino-American relationship. Indeed, despite interest in Jewish culture, Middle East policy and even Hebrew language, few Chinese scholars have ever traveled to Israel, and Israel is rarely, if ever, the explicit subject of scholarly research. This trip to Israel is a natural extension of the Schusterman Foundation’s ongoing relationship with Project Interchange, whose outstanding seminars in Israel for influential American leaders the Foundation has long supported.
The Schusterman Family Foundation and Project Interchange believe that by establishing and expanding quality Israel-related scholarship in this important and growing region of the world, it will open the door to deepened cultural ties and mutual appreciation between the Chinese and Jewish people, as well as an enhanced bilateral relationship between China and Israel.
“The American Jewish community has a pivotal role to play in strengthening Sino-Israeli relations,” said Lynn. “It is our hope that more of our partners and colleagues will see the value in these cross-cultural conversations and learning exchanges and will join us in supporting further opportunities.”
The seminar in Israel will run through January 21, 2011.