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Staff Seminar 2: The Belt and Road Initiative: An Exploratory Overview

Presentation of Staff Seminar by Dr. Voon Phin Keong (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, New Era University College).

Title: The Belt and Road Initiative: An Exploratory Overview

Date:  18 January 2017 (Wednesday)
Time: 2:30pm-4:00pm
Venue: New Era University College, Block B, 2nd Floor, Room 204
Organizer: Office of Academic Affairs, New Era University College
Language: English (Q&A: English and Mandarin)

Speaker: Dr. VOON Phin Keong
                (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, New Era University College)

Resume of Speaker:

      Former Head and Professor, Department of Geography and Department of East Asian Studies, University of Malaya; Director, Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies, Kuala Lumpur (2002-2010).

      Served as Exchange Lecturer, Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Hull University, England; Visiting Fellow, Institute of Developing Economies, Tokyo; Harvard-Yenching Institute, Harvard University; and  Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University; and Visiting Professor in Brunei University and Soka University, Tokyo. He was formerly Chief Editor of Malaysian Journal of Tropical Geography, Journal of Malaysian Chinese Studies.

     His research interests include the human geography of Malaysia and China, the Chinese of Malaysia, Southeast Asian Studies, among others. His major publications include Western Rubber Planting Enterprise in Southeast Asia, 1876-1921, Indebtedness and Land Use in Pre-War Malaya, with special reference to the Indigenous Society, China-Japan Relations in Transition: Towards Constructive Partnership in the 21st Century and a forthcoming title known as《聚族于斯——马来西亚华人研究》. Among his edited works are The View From Within: Geographical Essays on Malaysia and Southeast Asia, Chinese Population in Malaysia: Trends and Issues, China: Emerging Relations and Development, Malaysian Chinese and Nation-building: Before Merdeka and Fifty Years After, Volumes 1 and 2 (2007 and 2008), and《勤俭兴邦——马来西亚华人的贡献》.


     The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a policy framework proposed by China in 2013 to revive ancient trade routes to stimulate and create linkages among countries and territories along these routes. The BRI covers “The Silk Road Economic Belt” (丝绸之路经济带) and “The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” (21世纪海上丝绸之路). The “Belt” refers to overland routes straddling countries between China and Europe and the “Road” to sea lanes between south China and maritime countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

     Conceptualized under the core concepts of five modes of connectivity and three common communities, the BRI is an innovative strategy to promote development for mutual benefits and common interests among countries along the land and sea routes. The core concepts are based on the coordination of policies among countries, improved connectivity through infrastructure networks, smooth flows of trade in goods and services, better access to financial loans and funding, and the promotion of interactions among peoples and cultures. The three communities are built on those of common interests, common destiny, and common responsibilities.

     The seminar explores the BRI framework to provide an overview of the major concepts and selected on-going development projects and proposals, followed by an examination of its significance and implications and a brief survey of possible challenges and problems.


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