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Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 19:30

The Belt and Road Initiative and China’s Buddhist Diplomacy

Professor Patrick Mendis 

Embassy of lreland Residence
3, Ritan Dong Lu Chaoyang District

朝阳区 日坛东路3号 爱尔兰大使馆


The membership desk will be open from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm before the lecture. 

The deadline for registration is noon (12:00pm) on Thursday 29, November. We cannot accept RSVPs after this time.

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The crown jewel of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is Sri Lanka—with massive investment projects like the Hambantota Harbor, the Colombo Port City, and Chinese-built Colombo Lotus Tower. The BRI also shines a spotlight on Sri Lanka and its ‘Buddhist diplomacy’ – the people-to-people interactions, especially with merchants and monks that bridges Buddhist nations. Buddhist diplomacy between Sri Lanka and China goes back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). Over the years, China and India have been intertwined with Sri Lanka, especially with the influence of Faxian, Tang emissary Xuanzang, the Kublai Khan envoy Marco Polo, and the Ming admiral Zheng He on the development of culture and Buddhism within these nations. During his historic visit to Sri Lanka, President Xi Jinping characterized the Buddhist nation as a “splendid pearl” as part of the rejuvenation of religious and cultural heritage. The prospect of reviving Buddhist diplomacy through BRI will be explored in this lecture.
Professor Patrick Mendis—a former American diplomat and UNESCO commissioner—will examine the long history of religious and cultural exchanges for a glimpse into the prospects for the BRI. The author of over 150 books and articles, Mendis is a distinguished visiting professor of Sino-American relations at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. Previously he served as associate-in-research of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University and a Rajawali senior fellow of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is an academic advisor and senior fellow of the Pangoal Institution, a global think-tank in Beijing.

(The views expressed in the lecture are his own and do not represent the institutions of his affiliation in the past or present).


We look forward to seeing you then!


Warm regards,
BIS Committee 


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