IV. Public Diplomacy Forum in Berlin

Welcome to our blog about the fourth Chinese-European Public Diplomacy Forum!

Feel free to inform yourself about our project, conferences and public events.

Public Diplomacy Forums between China and Europe – What For?

China and the EU are two very different entities in world politics. While both are large economic powers and economic cooperation and interdependence has been deepening for decades now, political cooperation is still challenged by disagreement and differences in world views. Furthermore, the fact that China is going through a transformative phase regarding its position in our world order is complicating things. China’s political intentions are said to be „hard to read“.

While differing views are quite ordinary in world politics, it is very important to have a good understanding of each other’s perspective and perceptions in order to achieve an „informed divergence“ (Anne-Marie Slaughter) of opinions as a basis for striking compromises. An uninformed divergence can easily lead to misunderstanding and conflict. Therefore, creating a bridge for mutual understanding should be a vital interest on both sides. While higher politics are usually preoccupied with issues of security, finance and trade – while cultural issues are more or less left aside and treated as issues of low politics – cultural perceptions nonetheless constantly permeate actors’ realities, so that even politics that don’t seem cultural in nature can hence become interspersed with intercultural misunderstandings.

Three research institutes from Europe and China – the German ifa (Institute of Foreign Relations), the Clingendael (Netherlands Institute of Foreign Relations) and the Chinese Charhar Institute – have set up a meaningful cooperation to jointly exchange views and research on a variety of important issues, taking a culturally sensitive perspective of political views and misunderstandings, communication flows and self-images on both sides. All three of the research institutes have a solid record of research foci on public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy as well as cultural foreign relations. They jointly set up yearly conferences on varying topics around culture and public diplomacy in and between the EU and China to attain a better understanding of each other’s world views and perceptions – and how these relate to actual international politics.

This Year’s Forum: Public Diplomacy for Global Public Goods

This year’s conference – in reaction to COP21, the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris 2015 – focuses on „Public Diplomacy for Global Public Goods“, because global challenges of the 21st century ask for a more collaborative diplomacy among states and between states and a growing number of other international actors. This is especially the case for the provision of global public goods (GPGs) such as security and climate. Due to changing trade patterns and rapid changes in digital technology, public goods like knowledge and culture are becoming more contested, also in relations between China and Europe. GPGs are challenged whenever the consumption of shared resources is not balanced with the needs of the wider community.

The conference participants from China, the EU and the US will debate questions of common understandings of global challenges and the scope for sharing each other’s perspectives as well as differing cases made by China and Europe with regards to the provision of global goods, differences in diplomatic strategies and resulting opportunities and obstacles in China-Europe relations. The conference also aims at identifying potential for collaborative initiatives between China and the EU that aim at Global Public Good provision. Global Public Goods such as climate, the environment, security, financial stability as well as huge cooperative infrastructure initiatives like China’s president Xi’s „One Belt, One Road“ initiative will be discussed.

The conference is funded by the Bosch Foundation.

If this conference captured your attention, you are cordially invited to join our public evening event: 

In the evening of October 8th 2015 at 8pm a Public Panel Discussion will be held in the venue of the Bosch Foundation Berlin on the issue of (mis)understandings between China, India and the EU about global climate change.

The Cooperation Partners of the Public Diplomacy Forum Berlin:

ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) has a central vision: the peaceful and open-minded coexistence of people and cultures worldwide. To this end, ifa promotes the relationship between arts and culture in its programmes, exhibitions and dialogue and conference programmes. In its role as an expert hub for foreign cultural and educational policy, ifa creates networks between civil society, cultural practitioners, art, media and science. Its core business is intercultural dialogue and civil conflict management.


The Robert Bosch Stiftung is one of the major German foundations associated with a private company. It holds 92 percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH. Established in 1964, it represents the philanthropic endeavors of Robert Bosch (1861–1942), focussing on the fields of science, health, international relations, education, society, and culture. In Stuttgart, the Foundation maintains the Robert Bosch Hospital, the Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, and the Institute for the History of Medicine. Between 1964 and 2014, the Foundation has made available 1.3 billion euros for projects. In 2014, approximately 68 million euros were spent on project funding.


Clingendael Institute is an independent Dutch think tank and diplomatic academy which studies various topics of international relations, Europe and conflict management. It conducts research, provides reports and information, and organizes training programmes and seminars for a large number of audiences, including diplomats and civil servants as well as representatives of foreign ministries, staff of the armed forces and employees of NGOs and the private sector.

logo-charhar institute

Charhar Institute is a Chinese independent and privately funded non-governmental think tank. It was founded in 2009. The Charhar Institute aims at research and communication of diplomacy and international relations.

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