Research fellow, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS), China
Visiting at: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Denmark
Period: 1 month
Research Theme: Science-Governance Interplay in the Polar-Regions: What can Arctic Learn from Antarctica
Dr. Zheng Yingqin, Research fellow at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, was granted the opportunity to conduct a one-month fellowship at Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen in 2018.
Research Report of Academic Visit in NIAS
The text below describes her academic activities during his visit in China.
The six weeks (from April 23rd 2018 to May 31st 2018) academic visit in Denmark with the support of 2017-2018 CNARC Fellowship is very significant for me. During my staying in the Nordic, I was mainly based in Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS), University of Copenhagen, to conduct my research on Cooperation between China and the Nordic on Building the Polar Silk Road. By attending around academic conferences and workshops as well as doing interviews with scholars and officials related to my research topic, I had not only experienced the academic atmosphere and local culture of the Nordic, but also enhanced my ability of conducting research and gained the big picture of the cooperation between China and the Nordic countries.
Firstly, I would like to say a little bit about Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS). NIAS is an excellent academic platform for academic exchanges, especially for scholars who are interested in Nordic and Asian studies. As a visiting scholar of NIAS, I have had a great time of daily working with NIAS colleagues. By attending the staff meeting every week, I found that NIAS is more than an institute; its operation is a very good case for self-governance study based on knowledge sharing and collaboration. Staffs of NIAS are all very nice and eager to exchange their ideas and to cooperate with each other as well as to provide help for all visiting scholars and students. I was quite impressed by their spirit of sharing and their desire of making a better NIAS together. And there are lots of academic events held by NIAS, like the SUPRA talk, Brownbag Talk, etc. which provide great opportunities for scholars and students to discuss and exchange our ideas. Here I would like to extend my gratitude to Director of NIAS, senior researcher Dr. Geir Helgesen who has provided great support, arranging the office and research resources as well as the accommodation for me. Besides of NIAS, another center is very supportive for my visit, that is Fudan-European Center for China Studies (FECCS). Fudan-European Center is also based in University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and functions as an innovative platform for promoting cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary and comparative research on China. It has conducted a series of important academic events, which enriched my visiting experience in Copenhagen. And Dr. Liu Chunrong, Executive Vice Director of FECCS, is very supportive and helpful during my visit in the Nordic. He gave me very helpful advices to my research and introduced me related experts to interview with. My visit would not be so smooth without Dr. Liu’s help.
Second, to make full use of this visit, I have taken part in as many academic conferences as possible, which not only broaden my horizon but also provided me the knowledge of what issues the Nordic scholars have focused on. During the six weeks, I have attended around 10 academic events including conferences, symposium, workshop, lectures, etc., and carried out interviews among 8 important scholars and officials who are related to Polar studies and China-Nordic relations. Here I would like to choose some of the events I have attend, to explicit my main findings.
1. How the Europe sees the world and the rising China. By taking part in the conferences like the “China-EU Relations in a Changing World Order” held by NIAS and FECCS in May, and “The Transformation of Europe: Twenty-Five Years On” held in May by the Department of political science at UCPH, I learned that the EU sees the change of world order in a quite different way from the US. Rather than caring about the power shift, the challenges brought by the emerging powers to the traditional Western values and to the liberal international world order are what the Europeans concern about. By talking with Prof. Ole Waever (a very famous scholar of the Copenhagen School of IR), I gained the points of view that identity is key to the Europeans, but Europeans are reluctantly considering whether to draw a line in the sand on principled “European values” and there is an expectation that any change will be gradual so that Europe will be able to adjust, that is, the Europeans resist to radical change of the world order. He also shared with me his insights on the world order. He argues that the emerging structure is one of no superpowers and with the main great powers nested in different regions. That is, a pattern of conflict and cooperation is basically de-centered—not a focused competition for world power or for leadership as an aim in its own right. And the domestic issues of those main powers are also important. Therefore, the Trump revolution has become the object of concern. From the lecture on “American Discontent---The Rise of Donald Trump and Decline of Golden Age” by John Campbell, I learned that populism and faked news are threat to democracy, even to such a sophisticated democracy as the US. The change of domestic political situation in the US has spillovers on the entire world. In the Europe, the Euro-skepticism has become a constitutive element of modern populism. On the topic of the changing world, another popular topic is about “Sino-US relations”. Scholars here pay great attention to the on-going change of Sino-US relations and its impacts on the world. In the lecture “The Return of Bipolarity in World Politics: China, the United States and Geo-structural Realism”, Prof. Øystein Tunsjø argued that the international system has entered a new US-China bipolar system, and the “trade war” between China and the US has caused Europe’s concerns. From this point of view, I noticed that geopolitical competition is back to the core of international relations realm.
2. What the Nordic countries concern about. The most significant issue that the Nordic countries concern about is the climate change. Climate change has direct impacts and has brought great transitions here. I learned this not only from some conferences and interviews, but also from myself experience in Tromsø, where is within the Arctic Circle. I was quite shocked that the temperature there gets higher than 20 degree in May. By attending the 6th China-Nordic Arctic Cooperation Symposium on “Integrated Ocean Management in the Arctic” held in Tromsø, I learned that climate change has brought great challenges to the indigenous people as well as the governance of the Arctic. Luckily, the melting of ice also brings economic opportunities, like the possibility of using new shipping routes and exploiting energy and resources. Those transitions also demand further international cooperation between Nordic countries and the stakeholders of the Arctic. To tackle and adapt to those changes, the Nordic countries have taken effective steps. By interviewing with Prof. Ian Manners (Professor of Department of political science, UCPH), I learned the concept of “planetary politics”, which is about the importance of the entire environment of the plane we are living in and the necessity of sustainable development. He emphasized three important aspects that the Nordic have made progress to deal with the environment challenges---the awareness of environment protection, green energy development and recycling.
Overall, I truly appreciate CNARC for offering me such a great opportunity to study in the Nordic, from which I have benefited a lot for my academy and for my life.