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Global Issues Dialogue Centre update

The College’s UK-China Global Issues Dialogue Centre has changed its brief to encompass global issues more widely over the last 18 months. In recognition of that fact, the Centre’s name will be shortened to the Global Issues Dialogue Centre (GIDC).

Direction of the Global Issues Dialogue Centre (GIDC)

The GIDC, borne out of an introduction made by the British Government in 2016, was originally conceived as a research centre and a forum for promoting active dialogue between academics, policy makers and business people around the major issues we face in the world today and tomorrow, and in which China is increasingly involved. Launched in 2018, it was anticipated that its primary focus would be on China.

In 2019 the Centre embarked on a programme of research into the global governance of the digital economy. As part of this programme, it held a dialogue meeting at the College in October 2019. The dialogue was opened by the Master, followed by a speech by the Rt. Hon. Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia. It brought together 35 leading thinkers in the field from academia in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia as well as business leaders and representatives of the UK Government and Parliament. The GIDC has subsequently produced a number of other research papers covering topics such as digital ethics and the possibility of ‘de-globalisation’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although China is a relevant player in these areas, the research has ultimately focused on the global nature of these issues.  

The next major research project for the GIDC will focus on the opportunities and challenges for the practical scale-up of technologies, policies, markets and financing to deal with climate change and sustainability globally. While any research of this nature will involve China’s environmental footprint among others, questions concerning the roles of technology, policy, markets and finance are clearly of much wider, global relevance. The new, shorter Centre name will reflect the valuable work the GIDC is doing on global issues.

Global initiatives

One of the College’s roles is to encourage open and honest academic enquiry about the important issues of the day. The College hosts a range of interdisciplinary initiatives which seek to address these issues. We’ve created a Global initiatives section on our website to highlight some of the other international work being driven by our academics.

In addition to the GIDC, the College has hosted the China Centre since 2017. One benefit of the GIDC name change is that it will reduce the frequent confusion, particularly externally, between the GIDC and the China Centre, which organises seminars, workshops and book launches involving scholars, policy makers and business people. The China Centre's events represent a wide array of views in order to contribute to mutual understanding between China and the West.

Global initiatives will also promote the work of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum (CCAF). Based at Jesus since 2001, it collates Cambridge’s scholarly activities in Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as Russia, the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in China, Iran and Afghanistan. A number of Armenian, Afghan, Azeri, Chinese Uyghur and Kazakhs, Indian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, Pakistani and Russian academics have been hosted by CCAF for prolonged periods of research collaboration and public events, covering political, cultural and economic developments in their countries and regions.

Global initiatives also includes details of South and Southeast Asia Research conducted with the Thailand Institute of Justice, an interdisciplinary institute primarily concerned with the project to promote the rights of women and children in Thailand and involving academics from the University’s Institute of Criminology and Centre of Development Studies. The earlier work in the region was the forerunner to a larger policy engagement, which has seen Fellow of Jesus College, Dr Shailaja Fennell, win an international bid to lead over fifty international scholars in the writing of the first ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Development Report on Inclusion and Sustainability, to be launched in the spring of 2021.


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