Updates
New Center for Middle East and African Studies (CMEAS) website launched

LogoThe Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies (CMEAS) based at the School of International Studies, Renmin University is launching a new website. The Center was jointly founded in 2014 by Renmin University and SIGNAL. The purpose of the Center is to advance an understanding of the Middle East within China. Activities will include promoting collaborative research between scholars from China and the Middle East and holding symposiums and conferences.

In November 2014, CMEAS held an inaugural roundtable seminar titled” The Geopolitical Transitions in the Middle East: The perspectives from China and Israel.” The aim of the Symposium was to explore the geopolitical changes in the Middle East and the developing relations between China and the region. Nearly 30 international experts, from more than 10 institutions participated in this seminar, including the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, the International Institute for Counter Terrorism, Ben Gurion University and Gatestone Foundation.

The first research project under the auspices of the Center was conducted in the summer of 2014 by Israeli scholars, Prof. Meron Medzini (Hebrew U) and Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum (Bar Ilan U and BESA scholar). While in Beijing they worked closely with their counterpart, SIS Assistant Dean, Cui Shoujun, Director of CMEAS, researching the relevance of the China-Taiwan Cross Straits Relations Model to the Israeli-Arab conflict. CMEAS is presently in the early stages on a second project on counter-terrorism led by Prof. Alex Bligh (Ariel University) and Prof. Eyal Lewin (Ariel University) in collaboration with Prof. Cui Shoujun (Renmin University).

Belt & Road Conference at Northwest University, Xi’an

From 8th-9th May, a conference on “The Current Situation in the Middle East and the Belt and Road Initiative” was held at Northwest University in Xi’an. Presenting at the  conference were the SIGNAL delegation including Eyal Zisser, Vice Rector of Tel Aviv University and former director of the Moshe Dayan Center, Jonathan Spyer, Director of the Rubin Center at IDC Herzliya and Fellow at the Middle East Forum, Meir Litvak, Head of the Iran Center at Tel Aviv University.

NDRC Seminar in Israel Co-hosted by SIGNAL

On Jan 21, SIGNAL, in coordination with the Chinese Embassy in Israel and the Moshe Dayan Center, hosted the Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission *(NDRC) and former advisor to Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, **Ning Jizhe, for a discussion of China’s 13th 5-year plan. Mr. Ning spoke to a diverse panel of Israeli researchers and Senior policy fellows including; Dr Shalom Wald, Prof Meron Medzini, Mr Yoram Schweitzer and others. Mr. Ning was joined by Dai Yuming, from the Chinese Embassy in Israel.

DayancentermidIn his remarks Mr. Ning elaborated on a variety of topics from; shifting trends in Chinese GDP and economic diversification to expanding global partnerships with numerous strategic regional players, while increasing green energy technology research & development through multinational cooperation. As a point of note Mr. Ning made specific reference to a desire to increase cooperation between Israeli research centers and those of the NDRC. Mr. Ning expressed the NDRC’s appreciation of SIGNAL’s role in facilitating productive and essential dialog between Chinese officials and the Israeli academic community in both China and Israel.

SIGNAL looks forward to continuing its work with top Chinese Israeli intellectuals and policy makers such as the NDRC delegation to build forums for exchanges of ideas. That The Seminar on China’s 13th 5-year proved once again that Israel and SIGNAL are committed to building the core relationships necessarily to promote a strong and comprehensive approach to Chinese affairs.

The Geography of Sino-Israeli Relations

The academic article, The Geography of Sino-Israeli Relations, was recently translated through a cooperation between SIGNAL and the language department of the China University of Petroleum. This analysis and comprehensive history of the Sino-Israel relationship was written by Binyamin Tjong-Alvares, a SIGNAL Fellow and former managing director.

Originally published in the Jewish Political Studies Review in 2012, the article appeared both in hard copy and on the website of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs – a leading independent research institute specializing in public diplomacy and foreign policy. Founded in 1976, the Center has produced hundreds of studies and initiatives by leading experts on a wide range of strategic topics. The recent former JCPA Director, Amb. Dore Gold, is currently the Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

First Translation Competition at SISU

The first Translation Competition at a SIGNAL Israel Studies Program took place this year at Sichuan International Studies University (SISU). Competing to produce the most accurate translation of essays on Israel and the Middle East, students receive guidance from faculty advisors. SIGNAL commends SISU for initiating a competition that is training students in the subtleties needed for top quality translations. We are very pleased to share the 2015 winning translation of the inaugural event here.

transsisuCongratulations to first place winner, Wang Jiao 王姣), 2nd-year Master’s degree student in the English literature department at SISU.

The article translated for the competition is the statement of former British Infantry Colonel Richard Kempe, which he submitted to the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict.

In his paper, Col. Kemp analyzes the actions of the Israel Defense Forces during the conflict and the alternative steps the IDF could have taken. Col. Kemp bases his conclusions on observations on the ground during the conflict, direct interaction with IDF soldiers involved in combat, and conversations with Israeli legal, military and political leaders. The author argues that the IDF actions during the operation of summer 2014 were dictated by the responsibility of the government to protect its population.

ISP Research Paper Competitions

ISPcompAs part of the SIGNAL Israel Studies Program, students compete individually and in small groups in a full semester research project. In Sept. 2015, SIGNAL Executive Director, Carice Witte is seen here present prizes and certificates of excellence to the top winners.

ISP Academic Seminars in Xinjiang, Kunming and Beijing

Each semester, SIGNAL sends Israeli professors and scholars to deliver a series of lectures to students at universities with SIGNAL Israel Studies Programs.

Tel Aviv University Researcher lectures on the history of Zionism to 75 students as part of the SIGNAL Academic Seminar Series

Tel Aviv University Researcher lectures on the history of Zionism to 75 students as part of the SIGNAL AcademicSeminar Series

In September, the enrichment lecture series was conducted by professors from TAU and Hebrew University in SIGNAL ISPs in across China.

Faculty Training Program

FTPAt the outset of the Fall Semester, 2015, SIGNAL’s sixth cohort of Faculty Fellows arrived at the Sde Boker campus of Ben Gurion University. Comprised of eight faculty members from SIGNAL-affiliated universities.

The participating faculty hail from Yunnan, Xinjiang, Beijing, Henan University, and Xi’an.

SIGNAL & CICIR

In Sept. 2015, In coordination with Israel’s embassy, the SIGNAL delegation met with old and new colleagues from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).

CICIR President and SIGNAL exchange gift in customary ceremony

CICIR President and SIGNAL exchange gift in customary ceremony

Discussions were held on developments in the Middle East with experts from a range of fields including expertise in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran and South East Asia. The discussion continued over lunch, hosted by CICIR’s president featured here in the customary ceremony of exchanging gifts.

Carice Witte and INSS Senior Researcher hosted the China NGO Network for International Exchanges

On June 4th, 2015 SIGNAL Executive Director, Carice Witte and INSS Senior Researcher, Ambassador Oded Eran hosted the China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE) – the largest NGO network in China for an academic seminar focusing on One Belt One Road and NGO cooperation between China and Israel.

inss1The discussion focused on China’s rapid economic development and the effort by China’s leadership to help integrate more of its people into modern China. CNIE Deputy Secretary General Shi explained that through the development of the New Silk Road, China’s One Belt, One Road program, China hopes to contribute to stability in the Middle East. Deputy Secretary General Shi added that OBOR is to work as a cooperation initiation for bi/multilateral corporation because corporations and NGOs have entrepreneurship that government cannot replace. “China hopes to see peace and stability in the Middle East so there can be people-to-people communication and peace.”

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