• Log In

  • Speaker | 22 November, 2019

    The Transformation of Rural China – Beyond the Beijing-Shanghai Beltway

    Unprecedented infrastructure development. Poverty elimination. Land-use reform. Tourism development. Matthew Chitwood has lived in a small village in rural Yunnan for the last two years learning how infrastructure development is transforming its people, land, economy, and governance. His talk will focus on China’s poverty elimination campaign and the rural revitalization strategy as well as anecdotes illustrating rural perspectives and challenges around its development, followed by Q&A.

    Matthew Chitwood is concluding a two-year fellowship in Yunnan province exploring its transformation in light of economic and infrastructure development in the region. For almost a decade he has worked in Greater China: Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, and Taipei. His work experience spans the business, education, and non-profit sectors, and includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program and CET Study Abroad. He holds a dual M.A. in China Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He also completed the graduate certificate program at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and studied international business and Spanish at Northwest Nazarene University. 

    Speaker | 21 November, 2019

    Red Star over Ramallah and Tel-Aviv: China and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1949-2019) 

    Ever since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949 the Middle East (what the Chinese foreign ministry refers to as West Asia) has been a region of central interest to Beijing.

    Over the period of a century the nature and basis of Sino—Middle Eastern contacts, along with the policies and styles of approach, have fluctuated significantly, nonetheless, commonalities and consistencies around shared identities and experiences have also prevailed.

    This presentation explores both the changes and the continuities that have shaped relations between China and the Middle East regarding one of the most protracted and bitter of conflicts, —the Arab-Israeli struggle, and its sibling, the Israeli-Palestinian question— with a view to considering what past events might suggest for future prospects and expectations.


    Dr Ian Nelson is Assistant Professor in Transnational History and Politics, School of International Studies, The University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China. After taking a BA (Hons), and an MA in International Relations at The University of Nottingham, he was awarded a PhD at Durham University (Ustinov College), School of Government and International Affairs, the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Before moving to China, he taught at The University of Nottingham, UK. Recent publications include ‘Infinite Conditions on the Road to Peace: The Second New Labour Government’s Foreign Policy Approach to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict after 9/11’ in Contemporary British History, Vol. 33, No. 1, (2018), and ‘When East looks West to the Middle East’ in Emerging Scholarship on the Middle East and Central Asia: Moving from the Periphery, (2018).