Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Collisions of the Semi-Great Powers: Western, Chinese, and Islamic — New York University Abu Dhabi Institute


Irresistible demographic and social trends are undermining entrenched authorities everywhere, creating a world in which no single power or coalition can impose its will on the rest of the global community. As Western hegemony dwindles, there is a growing need for power sharing and collective management of global commons, but transnational collaboration is likely to be obstructed by precisely the societies that are most indispensable to future progress—by Western nations trying to prolong past dominance and by Chinese and Islamic leaders who are eager to assert decisive influence in their own right.

Sapanca, Turkey

China and the Middle East: Collecting Bargaining Chips for Higher-Order Conflicts — Keynote address at Sakarya University Conference on Middle East Politics and Society



China’s approach to the Middle East is guided by patient opportunism—a cautious and pragmatic diplomacy that views the region as a mixed bag of relatively low-priority interests that rank below its wide-ranging global conflicts with the United States and its simmering disputes with multiple neighbors in the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

Istanbul, Turkey

Interview with Kemal Cebeci, Marmara University

Guangzhou, China

Escalating Legitimacy Crises: Dwindling Political Authority and the Pursuit of Justice in Islamic, National and Global Arenas — South China University of Technology Public Policy Institute

Conference on Civilization and Governance: The Western and Non-Western Worlds

Western and Islamic societies suffer from a common ailment—their citizens are losing trust in the basic integrity of their political institutions. Embattled liberals in the West and the Islamic world want to bolster struggling democracies, new and old. Both groups see religion as indispensable in coping with chronic crises of legitimacy.

Western liberalism’s sense of vulnerability is paving the way for a rediscovery of Islamic Modernism. Western liberals hope that open-minded Muslims can help them combat fundamentalisms of all stripes, including extremist tendencies surging in America and Europe. Today’s Islamic Modernists comprise an influential network of writers, interest groups and activists that can be valuable allies in transnational struggles for democracy and religious tolerance.

Some of the most prominent modernists in recent decades were Fazlur Rahman in Pakistan, Cherif Bassiouni from Egypt, and Mohammed Arkoun of Algeria. More recently, their ranks grown with the influence of Nurcholish Madjid in Indonesia, Ali Bulaç of Turkey, and Abdullahi An-Na’im from Sudan. Comparing their works and legacies provides key insights to the richness and vitality of modernist movements that are spreading across the Islamic world today.


China’s Deepening Links to the Middle East | Robert Bianchi

  • Thursday, February 4, 2016
  • 7:00 PM 8:30 PM
  • The Wooden Box 9 Qinghai Road Shanghai

The Hopkins China Forum and The University of Chicago Alumni Club cordially invite you to:

China’s Deepening Links to the Middle East and President Xi’s Recent Visit
Robert Bianchi

China is tightening its links to the Middle East and the Islamic World precisely as these regions are becoming more dangerous and unpredictable than ever. Ambitious plans to build New Silk Roads spanning Eurasia and the Indian Ocean will pour huge investments into dozens of countries plagued by Great Power rivalry, religious and ethnic hostility, and transnational revolution. These are regions that China does not understand and cannot control, but they will affect Pacific Asian destinies for decades to come. China’s leaders are eager to undertake a more active role in mediating several Middle Eastern conflicts shaking global markets and spurring arms races around the world. What are the prospects for Chinese mediation in Middle Eastern and Islamic lands and how will China try to reshape the balance of power in these regions and beyond?

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