On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 CKGSB held a discussion with Carlo Krieger, Ambassador to the PRC, Mongolia and Pakistan for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The event was hosted by Professor Tu Weiming, Chairman of CKGSB’s Committee on the Humanities. Nearly 50 students and guests attended the event.
The theme of the discussion was Culture & Global Citizenship. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Krieger focused on Luxembourg’s role in the creation of the Euro zone. By thinking beyond their borders, Luxembourg’s governmental and business leaders initiated a free trade zone after World War 1, and then the Benelux grouping of countries after World War 2. Because Luxembourg is a small country in between Germany and France, its citizens have always been multicultural, and have often between the go-betweens for the larger countries. “Globalism has to come from local exposure,” Ambassador Krieger stated, and said that CKGSB played an important role for Europeans wishing to gain the exposure and understanding they need in order to do business in China.
A wide-ranging discussion followed Ambassador Krieger’s remarks. Professor Tu talked about “cultural China”, the idea of a China that exists culturally, and can include people living in other countries. One aspect of this “cultural China” that fascinates him is the difference between Europe and China regarding the role of religion. Religion in China, in Professor Tu’s view, is personal. China has never had a war based on religious differences, he said, whereas the history of Europe includes many religious wars. He is concerned about the inability of China’s elite to understand religion and its importance in the 21st century. He believes that if Chinese don’t understand Christianity, for example, they can’t understand the United States.
Additional topics that were touched upon included currency, Margaret Thatcher, human rights vs. sovereignty rights, the media, and cultural exchange programs between Luxembourg and China. Ambassador Krieger’s final remarks were about Luxembourg’s importance for the European Union. “Luxembourg is Europe in a nutshell,” he said, pointing out that many important EU institutions are located in the small, but central country.