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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Former French PM Dominique de Villepin Lectures at CEIBS

November 5, 2017. Shanghai - In its on-going efforts to bring together the international community in China, the CEIBS Alumni International Chapter (CAIC) invited former Prime Minister of France Dominique de Villepin to share his thoughts on China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. In his hour-long address tonight at the Shanghai Campus he provided the audience with rich insights about the merits of multi-lateral cooperation between nations and the way forward for China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Attendees included diplomats, leaders from business and academia from around the world, as well as CEIBS GEMBA, MBA and FMBA students and alumni.

In his welcome speech, Cedric Devroye (GEMBA15) took the opportunity to greet guests who came from far beyond the campus, including the Consul from the Kingdom of Thailand to Shanghai, and representatives from the Indian, European, and French Chambers of Commerce.

CEIBS Vice President and Dean Prof. Ding Yuan then gave a welcome address in which he made reference to the renowned speech that de Villepin gave in 2003 to the United Nations Security Council when he served as French foreign minister.

The address that de Villepin gave this evening was also memorable. He discussed how the issues the world is facing today, including globalisation, uncertainty of political order, rising global debt, and an inflating technology bubble, are leaving it increasingly vulnerable to entropy. He said that the rise of populism means the world is becoming more divided every day; overcoming this requires strong leadership with a long-term vision for globalisation that is not focused on short-term profits. In this context, he said that China’s Belt and Road Initiative represents a chance at changing the paradigm. He said the initiative offers a great opportunity for Europe and China to build a new order of globalisation and help the world move towards multilateral cooperation.

“One reason, I believe, the Belt and Road Initiative is a game changer, is that it can really create a globalisation based on multilateralism,” he said.

In the next part of his lecture, de Villepin spoke about what it will take for the Belt and Road Initiative to succeed. He highlighted the need to wisely choose the projects in Eurasia and Africa, and to learn from the Chinese investments of the last few years. Looking at various examples of foreign investments that worked, and those that did not, he argued that Chinese organisations must take a long-term perspective to ensure their investments are in the interests of host nations and their people. He also highlighted the importance of considering the interests of all involved parties in order for an investment to be successful.

“We should try to find a new balance between the common interests of Europe and China,” he said. “This will sway public opinion in Europe to see that the belt and road is not only going to be at the service of China….We have to show that it can be cooperation between equal partners.” In this context, he also praised China’s emerging soft power and its importance for building further cooperation between China and Europe.

After his lecture, de Villepin was joined by Dean Ding Yuan for a round table discussion with a select group of business leaders from Chinese and multi-national organisations operating in China that included many GEMBA alumni. The event ended with a dinner in honour of de Villepin.

About CEIBS Alumni International Chapter (CAIC)

The mission of the CEIBS Alumni Shanghai (International) Chapter is to be the home base for English-speaking CEIBS Alumni, and to provide a platform where all interaction will be in English. The chapter aims to support all alumni-related activities by coordinating networking events, academic sessions and other social activities while promoting shared interests as well as the experiences of its members. Though based in Shanghai the chapter has firm global ambitions. Alumni around the world are invited to become a part of the network to help us strengthen the Global Breadth of resource sharing and social interaction. With support from the CEIBS Alumni Office, the Chapter works to connect international alumni with the Chinese-speaking members of the domestic alumni chapters.

Sharad Mathur
Janine Coughlin