Tag Archives: Europe

Asia and Europe in a Global Context

The Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” welcomes applications for up to four doctoral scholarships. Applicants should submit their papers until March 15, 2015.

The Graduate Programme offers a monthly scholarship of 1200 Euro. Future scholarship holders will be supported in framing their research through advanced courses, individual supervision, and mentoring. Half of the scholarships are reserved for young scholars from Asia.

The Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies is the structured doctoral programme of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University. In line with the Cluster’s research profile, the programme focuses on the dynamics of cultural exchange processes between and within Asia and Europe.

Applicants must hold an M.A. or equivalent in a discipline of the humanities or social sciences with an above-average grade, and must propose a research project with a strong affiliation to the research framework of the Cluster. Applications are accepted until March 15, 2015, exclusively via our Online Application System.

For further information on the scholarships, visit the website of the Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies, or send an e-mail to application-gpts@asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de.

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Warmer relations between Washington and Beijing on climate change

After European Union leaders’ decision to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030, US and China also agreed to take actions to limit greenhouse gases.

These decisions are very ambitious, and could literally save the world from pollution and climate change, but as noted by Rebecca Leber1, there might be some obstacles to their implementation.

Both countries have a lot of work ahead to get to these targets.

  1. LEBER, R., 2014. The World has waited for the U.S. and China to ake action on climate change. They just did, The New Republic, November 12, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120242/us-and-china-reach-agreement-climate-change []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Solar Decathlon Europe 2014

Logo of Solar Decathlon Europe.

On Oct. 18, 2007, the Spanish and U.S. governments signed a memorandum of understanding to create Solar Decathlon Europe, a complementary competition to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.  Spain hosted the first two of these competitions in 2010 and 2012. In 2014, Solar Decathlon Europe will move north to France.

Solar Decathlon Europe 2014

  • Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 will take place in Versailles, France, June 28–July 14, 2014. The participating teams are:
  • Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – School of Engineering and Architecture
  • Universisad de Castilla – La Mancha and Universidad de Alcala de Henares University
  • Chiba University
  • ENSA Nantes, ESB, Audencia Group, Audencia Nantes, Ecole des Mines Nantes, ISSBA, IUT Nantes, Architectes Ingénieurs Associés, Atlansun, Institut des Matériaux Jean Rouxel, Medieco, Novabuild, SAMOA, and SCE
  • Technical University of Denmark
  • Academy of Architecture and IIT Bombay
  • Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria – Valparaiso and Université de la Rochelle – Espace Bois de l’IUT
  • Université d’Angers and Appalachian state university
  • University of the Arts Berlin and Technical University of Berlin
  • Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, University Politehnica of Bucharest, and University of Architecture and Urbanism “Ion Mincu”
  • Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University, and University of Applied Sciences – Erfurt
  • Delft University of Technology
  • University of Applied Sciences Frankfurt am Main
  • Costa Rica Institute of Technology – Cartago
  • Université Paris-Est, ENSA Paris Malaquais, ENSA Marne la Vallée, ESTP Paris, Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech, ESIEE Paris, ENSG, and IFSTTAR
  • Universitá Degli Studi di Roma TRE
  • King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi
  • Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – Barcelona
  • National Chiao Tung University
  • Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México and the Center of Research in Industrial Design and the School of Engineering and the School of Arts.

Read more

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Chinese high-speed trains in Europe

Two months ago, Chinese premier Li Keqiang visited Central and Eastern Europe, and attended a regional summit in Bucharest, Romania. This visit coincided with the conclusion of several business deals.

One of these deals concerns infrastructure and transport systems. China and Romania have agreed on the construction of a high-speed rail network connecting Constanta on the Black Sea to Bucharest and then maybe onto Budapest in Hungary.

Other countries showed interest in similar proposals; another high-speed train line may be built between Budapest and Belgrade in Serbia.

What can we learn from this partnership?

Firstly, China has gained a real expertise in high-speed rail. After building an impressive high-speed rail network in its homeland, China can now export its know-how, which will help its diplomatic relations.

Secondly, this also shows the disparities in high-speed rail development within Europe. Whereas the Eurostar has connected Paris and London for almost twenty years, rail transportation in Central and Eastern Europe still suffers from poor infrastructure.

How should Europe feel about this Chinese offer?

Of course, Central and Eastern Europeans can only welcome this opportunity that will surely boost their development.

However, some would deplore the fact that China has succeeded where the EU has failed. Why does Romania have to turn to China to get this high-speed rail network? Why hasn’t the EU launched a similar programme already?

Maybe the most important point regarding the nature of this project is the way this agreement has been reached. China will use this project as a showcase for operations in other countries, and so offered very attractive conditions for the construction of this network. Usually, before deciding on this kind of large-scaled investment, tenders are required and competition among private companies is the rule.

There is no problem using Chinese technologies for constructing and operating high-speed rail networks in Europe, as long as they are the best solution, but there needs to be fair competition among companies – this is a key principle of the EU. Furthermore, we should question if cooperation between China and EU member states should be focused solely on the financing of infrastructures, when there a broader exchange, both technologically and culturally, could be developed.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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16th EU-China summit

 

EU China summit

In the past few months, relations between the EU and China had been quite tense as illustrated by the “trade war” on solar panels and wine. Another cause of friction is the European arms embargo. In spite of these issues, China and the EU continue to maintain important trade relations. The EU is China’s largest trading partner, and China is the EU’s second largest.

All these topics were widely discussed at the 16th EU-China Summit. This event, held in Beijing on 21 November 2013, was the occasion for José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, to meet China’s new administration. Trade was not the only topic discussed during this meeting. As mentioned in a previous post by Ai Chi-an, a sub-forum was also devoted to EU-China cooperation in urbanisation, where several members of UrbaChina’s Consortium introduced the project’s activities. China’s massive urbanisation may be considered a golden opportunity for European investors, with millions of new urban consumers who may adopt European products. China will also need better transport, energy and network infrastructure to accompany this urbanisation. However, China’s urbanisation cannot be reduced only to the trade aspect. Urbanisation has created several challenges including pollution and social integration that need to be addressed. Although Europe has never undergone such massive and sudden urbanisation, we believe Europeans can provide insight on some aspects of urbanisation based on their experience. Questions relating to social housing or compact cities have been debated for a long time in Europe, and therefore this experience may help Chinese cities find their own way to resolve urban issues and offer sustainable living to their inhabitants. Regarding pollution, we can observe that most cities in Europe and in China are looking to reduce their environmental footprint and be more energy efficient; in this respect, they share the same challenge. However, these problems are complex and there is no single solution. That is why more cooperation is needed between China and Europe to make Chinese and European cities greener.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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