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Barnaby Powell

Barnaby Powell

The Meaning of China - for the younger generation

Barnaby Powell is a veteran of development banking and consultancy in the Chinese world with over 40 years experience as a practitioner/ bit-part actor in the drama of China's rise. He has written, with Dr Alex Mackinnon, 3 books on China: 'China Calling' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); 'China Counting' (PM, 2010); and '2018 - China goes Critical' (ebook, Crosstalks Asia, 2013); also on 'Soft Power' for 'China Eye'(the magazine of the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding).

His talk to schools is aimed at explaining the meaning of China as an anchor of the existing world order; as a 'parallel universe', whose 'pillars of wisdom' differ widely from the West's; and as a civilizational culture, whose roots go back the furthest in recorded history. Reconciliation of our different value systems is a major challenge: Law and Religion vs. 'Guanxi'/ancestor worship; Individual vs. Collective; Contractual vs. Relational; Rights vs. Duties and Obligations; Enlightenment values vs. Confucianism and Socialism.

He explains and interprets the influence of family culture on the mentality and behaviour of the Chinese and the factors affecting China's re-positioning as a world power. He describes the grand initiatives currently underway to further China's engagement with the world: the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS New Development Bank as rival sources of funding to the World Bank/IMF for developing countries, and the 'Belt and Road' (New Silk Road) plan for overland and maritime trade routes.

Finally he outlines the challenges the Chinese Communist Party faces in maintaining stability and legitimacy without a public mandate at a time of critical phase transition to a developed country status. He also discusses the need for convergence amongst the major world powers in making common cause to address the seemingly intractable problems of environmental pollution, clean/renewable energy, food security, a regulatory framework for banking, investment and trade, IPR for technology and innovation, population control, nuclear proliferation and space exploration.

Testimonials from Teachers

"Your delivery was energetic and engaging throughout and you covered a great deal of material with an impressively intimate and personal tone."

– Simon Kent, Assistant Head of Sixth Form, King's College School

"Thank you for the great talk you delivered".

– Hua Yan, Head of Chinese, Oundle School

"I always find your talks very inspiring in terms of offering different views from which to look at China".

– Professor George Zhang, Director, The Centre for Modern Languages, Richmond University (American International University in London)​

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