(November 18, 2023) The Center for Business Studies and Innovation in Asia-Pacific (CBSI) was privileged to partner with The Carter Center to host “The Inaugural Jimmy Carter Conversation on US-China Relations” at the close of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in San Francisco.
Five years ago, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the normalization of US-China relations, President Carter published an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “How to Repair the US-China Relationship—and Prevent a Modern Cold War.” In words that still ring true today, he wrote that a “balance approach is key to ensuring that the United States and China continue to work together toward solving…the most intractable global problems.” Reflecting that in 1979 he and Deng Xiaoping “knew (they) were advancing the cause of peace,” President Carter observed that while “today’s leaders face a different world, the cause of peace remains just as important.” He appealed for “new vision, courage and ingenuity” for today’s “new challenges and opportunities,” and called upon the United States and China “to build their futures together, for themselves and for humanity at large.” It was in this spirit that the “The Inaugural Jimmy Carter Conversation on US-Relations Relations” was launched at the University of San Francisco on November 18th.
Dr. Xiaohua Yang, CBSI’s founder and Executive Director, opened the event by honoring President Carter’s legacy and reflecting on how his work normalizing US-China relations provided the opportunity for her to come to the United States as a student in the 1980s and forever changed her life. Welcoming remarks from Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President of the University of San Francisco, and Barbara Smith, Vice President of Peace Programs at The Carter Center, were followed by a keynote address from Max Baucus, former US Senator (D-Montana) and Ambassador to China. The afternoon continued with Ker Gibbs (CBSI’s Executive-in-Residence, editor of the recently released book Selling to China: Stories of Success, Failure, and Constant Change, and past President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai) moderating a fascinating and insightful panel discussion with Ambassador Max Baucus; Dr. Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society; Amy Celico, Principal at Albright Stonebridge Group/Dentons Global Advisors; and Zoe Zongyuan Liu, Maurice Greenberg Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. The panelists provided key insights on the recent bilateral meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden as well as other APEC events. Several panelists and audience members also shared accounts of how normalizing relations between the US and China changed not just their lives but those of millions of people.
Among the speakers at a private dinner that followed were former California Governor Pete Wilson; Liu Xin, China Global Television Network (CGTN) anchor; Hu Shuli, founder and publisher of Caixin Media; Nell Calloway, granddaughter of General Claire Lee Chennault, an American military aviator who led the “Flying Tigers” and the Chinese Nationalist Air Force in World War II; and Dr. Yawei Liu, Senior Advisor on China at The Carter Center.
We thank Dr. Liu and his team for their hard work with CBSI on “The Inaugural Jimmy Carter Conversation on US-Relations Relations” to make it a big success. While President Carter is 99 years old and was unable to attend, The Carter Center has for decades been one of the most impactful human rights focused NGOs in the world — “waging peace, fighting disease, building hope.”
It was an honor to partner with The Carter Center on this very important and timely event.
Article contributed by William Ktsanes, CBSI Associate Director
November 30, 2023