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‘Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s World’: Announcing OCF 2021 Online

OCF is excited to announce today that the 8th Oxford China Forum will be hosted online from March 19th to 22th, 2021. This year’s Forum theme will be ‘Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s World’. In a unique and unprecedented format, the Forum will see leaders from global business, politics, international organizations, civil society, academia, media, and the arts come together with young audiences in both Britain and China. Alongside our forum partners, Charming Friends Dialogue and Chinese Elite Consortium, we hope to create a platform for colliding ideas and mutual growth: our goal is to share China with the world and share the world with China.

Recently, in 2020 we saw the world plunged into a pandemic. A truly global crisis, Covid-19 exposed enormous social, economic, and systemic issues facing humanity. In confronting these challenges, we are prompted to consider our individual purposes in a global context. Though the pandemic is still ongoing, a new year has arrived, making this upcoming Forum especially important. In examining such issues, we hope participants can revitalize their purpose, rebuild beliefs and values for a post-pandemic world, and join efforts to establish a more perfect mode of living for our shared humanity.

Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University: OCF is opening a bright path towards the future

‘Today we still face serious and intractable challenges that have been brewing over the past few years: the persistent and extensive ravages of the COVID pandemic, continuing environmental degradation, economic deprivation and inequality, as well as political instability and repression in several parts of the world. In this context, the topic of this year’s Forum fills me with hope. Events such as this pass on the knowledge today’s youth need to build a safer, more peaceful and more sustainable world for tomorrow.’

— Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford

OCF President Harry Liang: The world belongs to the young; now, it is our turn

‘In the words of writer Liang Qichao, “when the youth are strong, the nation is strong.” The newest generation of youths were born in an era of Chinese ascent: rapid economic growth became the foundation for material improvements, scientific breakthroughs have reshaped ways of knowing the world, and globalization has opened the international stage. Under the opportunities and challenges bestowed by our times, young Chinese people are telling their own stories in unique ways. At the same time, as part of a global current, they are experiencing gradual changes. These render the task of understanding China’s youth especially pertinent.

— Harry Liang, President of Oxford China Forum

Looking Back: Who Are We?

Established in 2013 with the support of Oxford University and its China Centre, Oxford China Forum is dedicated to building a platform for academic dialogue between China and the UK, in order to promote comprehensive and constructive conversations on China. As one of the largest China Forums in Europe, former OCF guests include Kevin Rudd (former Prime Minister of Australia), Sir Christopher Hum (former UK Ambassador to China), Chen Wen (Minister at the Embassy of China in the UK), Xu Xiaoping (founder of ZhenFund Inc.), Wang Jian’er (CEO of Shanghai Film Group Corporation), Wang Zhonglei (CEO of Huayi Brothers), directors Xie Fei and Wen Muye, artist Jin Xing, and writer Yan Geling. More than 100 guests have spoken at OCF, and our Forum livestreams have been viewed more than 2.6 million times.

Update 1: A Brand New Look For A Young Generation

As the central force for growth in any era, young people are needed more than ever to tell the story of our times. For this reason, our Forum committee decided to pursue abold new experiment.

In a departure from the formal, academic style we’ve previously maintained, the 2021 Forum will adopt a brand new model of thinking. From selection of content to medium of presentation, we strove to inject every aspect with the vibrancy and attitude of a young generation, eliminating any sense of distance. As we look towards the future, OCF’s distinctive direction will be to always develop alongside young people and to create an academic celebration that truly belong to the young.

The 2021 Forum will include five panels: Culture, International Relations, Technology, Comedy, and Feminism. Moreover, there will be 2 new special seminars on Involution and Fandoms. By innovating upon the Forum’s format, we hope to explore the newest and most relevant topics and platform young voices. All topics, guests, and formats involved will be related to the theme of youth, with the goal of establishing an academic conference that young people can truly enjoy, identify with, and benefit from.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, has expressed support for the Forum: ‘I have always been very proud of the achievements of Oxford’ young people; not just because they demonstrate that, after almost a thousand years, our University continues to attract and to stimulate imagination and creativity, but particularly because they point the way towards a brighter future.’

Update 2: Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

In every year’s Forum, nothing is more exciting than revealing our guest list. With the announcement our Forum, we are also thrilled to share one truly distinguished guest. Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, has shared him support for OCF, and will deliver a 20-minute keynote speech at the Forum’s opening ceremony. We will be revealing many other exciting guests at OCF 2021 in the upcoming days, so please follow us on social media to stay up to date!

Four days, ten events: through multifaceted angles, Oxford China Forum will authentically capture China’s young generation from technology and business to culture and thinking, from theories and academia to current affairs, and from the macroscopic world to the microscopic individual. Come along with us to explore how today’s youths are shaping the world for tomorrow. We look forward to welcoming you in March.

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Credits

Author: Jiayi Qiu

Formatting: Yinan Zhao

Translation: Irene Zhang

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Reflections — ‘Learning From Chinese Philosophy’

Thank you to everyone who attended our recent speaker event with Professor Bryan Van Norden! Please find below a few words from our event host, Yifei Chen, as well as the full recording of the talk.

We hope you will be able to join us for future events as well. To keep up with OCF’s work, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

‘I think the 90+ participants in attendance from different time zones and academic disciplines could all have agreed on one thing, that it was difficult not to be impressed by Prof. Van Norden’s passion and depth of knowledge. One can almost see a resemblance between the charismatic professor labouring to put Chinese philosophy on the map in western academic philosophy and Confucius going around the Warring States and universities, trying to convince them to follow his ideas. Flowing effortlessly from Kant’s racist views to insightful interpretations of Zhuangzi’s sceptical arguments, he gave a thorough and brilliant defence of the idea that Chinese philosophy is nuanced, insightful and relevant to problems discussed in modern Western academic philosophy. It was an honour to host such a wonderful guest for our first event of the term, and I’m sure Prof. Van Norden will be back with OCF in the future, if only to answer all those leftover questions from October’s enthusiastic audience.’ – Yifei

Video Editor: Zixi Cai