Area Studies is a vital part of the discipline of International Relations (IR) in China. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, China carried out Reform and Open Policy in 1978, thus starting China’s impressive growth story in the years that followed. China’s IR studies have made great progress in the past four decades but the development of its Area Studies component still cannot satisfy the increasing need to understand the neighboring and remote world outside, especially under the context of the implementation of the OBOR Initiative. The gap between the development of Area Studies and the recruitment of Area Studies professionals in China is created by the following factors: 1) the low use of English in the Chinese society; 2) the gap between college education (theoretical studies) and research institutes (applied studies); 3) the policy of official overseas exchange and education. For the recruitment of the Area Studies professionals or incentivizing careers in the field, we still have three problems: 1) pressure from foreign languages, sociology and other majors; 2) other competing and attractive job opportunities; and 3) lack of international level English-language skills.
About the Speaker
Mr. Wei FENG (冯威) is currently a visiting research associate at the ICS and a Ph.D. candidate in the School of International Studies at Peking University, Beijing, China. Feng holds a Master of Laws (International Politics) degree from the same School in Peking University. He has a Bachelor of Laws (International Politics) from the Department of Political Science at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (中南财经政法大学), Wuhan, Hubei and a Bachelor Degree of Arts (English Language) in the School of Foreign Languages at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (华中科技大学) in Wuhan. His main focus areas are South Asian Studies and political theory.