As the most important developing and developed countries of the world, China and the United States play a critical role in the sustainable development of economics and culture of the human society, and the establishment of common values of the human species. However, as the economic power of China is swiftly rising, and as the strategic focus of the United States is shifting to the Asia Pacific, divergence and conflict of interest between the two countries occur frequently. Under these circumstances, discussing the fundamental humanitarian values that lie under the core interests represented by the two political civilizations, and further seeking ways of conversation and co-existence between the two turn out to be particularly crucial.
On December 28, 2012, the “Third Sino-American Dialogue on Core Values” took place in Berkeley, California. It was co-sponsored by WEIB, Beijing Forum, Stanford University Confucian Institute, and Cultural China Foundation.
The origin of the Dialogue can be traced back to the “Sino-American Consultation on People-to-People Exchange” proposed by leaders of the United States and China in April, 2011. At that time, Dr. Li Yansong, Vice President of Peking University and Vice Director of the Organizing Committee of Beijing Forum, and Prof. Tu Weiming, Director of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies (IAHS), jointly proposed to create the “Sino-American Dialogue on Core Values” under the framework of Beijing Forum. They hope to take the opportunity of the “People-to-People Exchange,” use the academic resources of Beijing Forum and the IAHS, and promote the bilateral understanding of the two countries’ core values through in-depth exchange and direct dialogue; to better advice the Chinese and American leaders on strategic issues. In the fall of 2011 and 2012, the “Sino-American Dialogue on Core Values” took place twice during the Beijing Forum.
The third Dialogue that took place in Berkeley this time extended the result from the two previous dialogues, utilized the academic resources of the newly-founded WEIB, aimed to consolidate the consensus between the Chinese and American intellectual elite and impact on the study of the Sino-American relation and common values of the mankind.
Participants of the Dialogue include Prof. Tu Weiming, Director of IAHS and WEIB, Prof. Robert Bellah, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley， Prof. Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University, Prof. Lowell Dittmer of the University of California, Berkeley, Professor of Sociology Ann Swidler, Stephen Rowe, Professor of Philosophy at Grand Valley State University, Leonard Swidler, Professor of Catholic Thoughts and Inter-religious Exchange at Temple University, Director of CKGSB Xiang Bing, Liu Haiping, President of the Nanjing Foreign Language School, Fu Jun, Vice Director of the Management School of Peking University, and Secretary General of Beijing Forum Yan Jun, etc.
Participants of the Dialogue conducted intense and constructive academic exchange on the topic of “Sino-American Dialogue on Core Values.” Prof. Tu Weiming points out that the form of Value may change with time, but its matter or content stay relatively stable. The point of the “Dialogue on Core Values” is to break old presumptions. The United States and China have no choice other than dialogue. In the past, Chinese people paid more attention to American economy and military status, but relatively neglected the inner characteristics of American culture, especially in ethics and religion. In fact, this Dialogue not only provided the two parties a platform for exchange, but also opened up an important area of research: dialogues between the Chinese and American people will catalyze a “dialogical civilization” and enhance in-depth exchange and dialogue among different civilizations.