UIII’s FoSS Students Association Holds Engaging ‘Mini Conference’

December 22, 2023

Contributor: Hamad Shoukat | Editor: Supriyono

UIII.AC.ID, DEPOK -  The student association at UIII’s Faculty of Social Sciences (FoSS) organized on December 13, 2023, a mini conference themed ‘The Rise of China and Power Dynamics in Global South’ with a keynote speaker from the Universitas Gadjah Mada’s Department of International Relations, Prof. Poppy S. Winanti who addressed a comprehensive overview of China's rise in the military, economical, technological, and soft power domains.

The event, orchestrated by ASSIST—the acronym of the Association of Social Sciences Students— proved to be a heated forum for thought-provoking discussions while demonstrating the harmonic fusion of academic rigor with the organizational skill of the students in organizing a conference.

Prof. Winanti provided an engaging account of China's military development, highlighting the country's strategic prowess and purposeful changes. The focus on maritime security highlighted China's changing military posture and alluded to its possible impact on the dynamics of the global marine environment. This prepared the ground for a fascinating investigation into the relationship between military might and geopolitical influence.

As a background, China, as one of the world's most powerful economies, assumed a central role in international commerce and infrastructure funding as a result of its consistent growth. With its narrative of connection that cuts beyond national boundaries, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become a revolutionary force. This economic might combined with knowledge of cutting-edge technology created a clear picture of China as a powerful ‘Cyberpower’ in addition to an economic behemoth.

Prof. Winanti's study of China's soft power measures, such as Confucius Institutes and Hollywood investments, added levels of intricacy to the discussion. These political and cultural endeavors brought to light China's comprehensive approach to shaping international narratives and governance frameworks, posing intriguing questions about the role of culture in modern geopolitics.

As she moved to the Global South, Prof. Winanti's observations on China's dignified counterbalance to Western influence struck a profound chord. China's important position as a financier to emerging countries and its economic partnerships with ASEAN has shown a story of partnerships that go beyond simple economic transactions to include respect as well as collaboration.

A door to more nuanced diplomatic discourse was opened by the rejection of a conflict scenario between the United States and China, which was based on economic interdependence rather than aggressive ideological objectives. The audience was thrust into the field of international relations policy and the fine art of navigating global power dynamics by the question of strategic collaboration and rivalry, along with engagement and containment.

The keynote speech was followed by a Q&A session which posed as a thought-provoking discussion. Students from several faculties incorporated their disciplinary viewpoints into the conversation. The questions, which covered topics from technology to legislation, created a mosaic that reflected the complexity of world events. Examining the legal ramifications of China's involvement, figuring out the technology fallout, and exploring the geopolitical nuances all became joint projects that demonstrated the academic community's combined intelligence.

In the end, Prof. Winanti asked an open-ended question in her thought-provoking closing remarks: ‘How will the rise of China unfold?’ The audience was left to speculate on the future course of global geopolitics as this rhetorical question captured the uncertainty of China's international role.

The mini conference held by ASSIST has not only allowed for discussion but also sparked an interest in research and critical thinking. It serves as a catalyst, bringing academics and students closer to comprehending the subtleties that form our world and embracing the complexity of global power dynamics with intellectual vigor and steadfast dedication.