2012 Conference

From Win-Win to Mutual Trust

During the inaugural conference of the U.S.-China Forum at Yale, Joshua C. Ramo, author of The Beijing Consensus, said, “The only currency that matters in international affairs is trust.” Over the past decade, China has become a global economic power and, as a result, has both improved the lives of millions of Chinese and left its footprint on the world economy. Still, as China has grown in wealth and influence, the international community has called on the rising power to assume greater responsibility. In a word, the world needs China, and China needs the world. But the traditional win-win approach to global cooperation will no longer suffice. China and nations around the globe must find ways to build enduring mutual trust.

In this context, developing mutual trust with the United States is one of China’s greatest challenges. Although the U.S. still has the world’s largest economy and a technologically-advanced military, America struggles to create jobs, reverse its budget deficit, and end its involvement in costly overseas wars. At the same time, China’s GDP has grown nearly five times as fast as its Western rival. Even so, China has often pursued a hands-off foreign policy regarding conflicts in which the U.S. and its allies sought support. As a result, the U.S.-China relationship is a mix—cooperation and communication on the one hand and competition and confrontation on the other. And while this relationship has made great strides—as Yang Jieshi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, pointed out during his 2011 Yale visit—differences between these two great nations remain and, in turn, have impeded the cultivation of trust.

As we stated in our 2011 Forum, the youth of both countries represent the greatest hope for building mutual trust between China and the U.S. Thanks to an increasingly-advanced global educational system and an open cultural exchange between China and the U.S., American and Chinese young people are more similar in terms of world view, culture and lifestyle than previous generations. Accordingly, in order to create a platform for communication and foster mutual trust between the youth and future leaders of both countries, explore how to handle pressing issues facing China and the U.S., and create a practical blueprint for future development, the U.S.-China Forum at Yale will hold its second annual conference on April 5-8, 2012 at Yale.

In this conference, we will consider a host of issues—politics, business, policy and law, social advancement, and sustainable development—from the perspective of creating mutual trust. The forum will include keynote speeches, panel discussions, student debate and student presentations. Speakers will be leaders in government, NGOs, private enterprise, academia and youth organizations from both China and the U.S.