Last Tuesday, FACES hosted our annual Stanford-Peking University Telesummit, bringing scholars from China and the US together to discuss issues pertinent to both countries. It took the form of a panel discussion using a live video feed between state-of-the-art classrooms in the Stanford Center at Peking University in Beijing and at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The conversation centered on women’s issues and reproductive health. Given the backdrop of China’s relaxation of its One-Child Policy and the ongoing debate over defunding Planned Parenthood in the United States, this topic has become a prominent concern in both countries in recent months. While these issues are often hotly debated within both countries, the goal of the Telesummit was to spark a dialogue transcending national boundaries in the hope that the scholars who participated might learn from each other in what would be a constructive, collaborative exercise.
Ultimately, the Telesummit was a resounding success. Professors Zhang Zhenzhen and Qiao Xiaochun from Peking University, and Ms. Kim Meredith, who directs Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, had a lively discussion about a myriad of issues pertaining to both China and the US. These included demographic change in China, the influence of religion on the contraception debate in the US, sex education, and the role all women can play in shaping the policies of both countries that govern reproductive health. Most importantly, all the participants were eager to delve into a wide range of issues, even those that were beyond their realm of expertise, to not only espouse knowledge, but also forge connections with their compatriots on the other side of the Pacific. In doing so, they embraced FACES vision for the Telesummit, that this might be a starting point for continued scholarly exchange.