Strait Talk 2011 Symposium

Strait Talk is a non-partisan dialogue program that seeks to transform international conflict by connecting young people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait and the United States and empowering them to strive for peace. The 2011 Strait Talk Symposium at Brown University took place November 12-16, with public events throughout the week.

For a full archive of events please visit China Conversations or  

2011 Strait Talk Symposium Schedule of Public Events:

Mediated Perceptions: Cross-Strait Relations through the Lens
Time: Saturday, November 12, 6:00-7:30 PM
Location: Kassar Fox Auditorium

In a world of instantaneous news updates and widespread use of both new and older forms of media, it has become critically important to understand the interplay between the media and international affairs. This relationship is especially important and relevant to the Taiwan Strait conflict, as China and Taiwan have what are ranked, respectively, among the most censored and the freest media in the world. In this panel, we will explore such questions as: How is the cross-Strait conflict portrayed differently in Chinese, Taiwanese and American media and journalism? How has that representation changed over time? What are the underlying assumptions and motivations, as well as the economic, political and social repercussions, of media discourse on the Taiwan Strait issue? Our speakers included Professor Xiguang Li (Tsinghua Univeristy, Taipei) and Dr. Randolph Kluver (Texas A&M U.), and our moderator was Dr. Tatsushi Arai (SIT Graduate Institute)

Related article: 2011 Symposium | Media Panel | Mediated Perceptions: Cross-Strait Relations Through the Lens

Innovating Forward: Entrepreneurial Activity in Mainland China and Taiwan
Time: Monday, November 14, 4:00-5:30 PM
Location: MacMillan 115

Entrepreneurs encounter numerous challenges and obstacles when crossing the politically charged and legally ambiguous boundary between China and Taiwan. Nevertheless, many opportunities exist for entrepreneurs working in and across the two regions. In this panel, we explored the opportunities for collaboration between mainland China and Taiwan that exist in the Internet, financial services, biomedical, energy and electronics industries. This panel also looked at the importance of direct investment and trade as a means of improving cross-Strait relations, in addition to the role entrepreneurial activity can play in bridging the cross-Strait divide and recent developments that provide more prospects for a strengthening of cross-Strait relations. Our speakers included Dr. Kuan-Tsae Huang (CEO of NanoTune Technologies) and Drew Mason (co-founder and Managing Partner of Jade Capital Management, LLC), and our moderator was Professor Barrett Hazeltine (Brown).

Related article: 2011 Symposium | Entrepreneurship Panel | Innovating Forward: Entrepreneurial Activity Across the Taiwan Strait

Museums and Official Historical Narratives: Broadening or Bridging the Gulf in Cross-Strait Understanding?
Time: Monday, November 14, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Location: Smith-Buonanno 106

The past twenty years have witnessed expansion and growing sophistication in the museums sector on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. This presentation considered how these changes have affected the portrayal of the societies on either side of the Taiwan Strait, and of the historical relationship between them. It also discussed possible implications of the shifts in the official narrative on either side for the future of cross-Strait relations. These issues will be explored through an examination of what has and has not changed in official narratives, with particular attention to the following themes: defining "the nation", how "foreign" societies are represented, museum narratives of the national past, and tourism's role in the cross-Strait issue. Professor Edward Vickers (U. of London) was our guest speaker; introduction by Professor Emily Stokes-Rees (Brown).

Related article: Museums and Official Historical Narratives: Broadening or Bridging the Gulf in Cross-Strait Understanding?

The Theory Behind the Conflict: Nationalism Across the Strait
Time: Tuesday, November 15, 6:00-7:30 PM
Location: Smith-Buonanno 201

Political theory offers approaches to investigate and understand foreign politics and international relations. In this panel, we sought to understand the concept of “nationalism” and how it applies to the Taiwan Strait conflict. What does “nationalism” mean in mainland China and Taiwan? How different are the two sides’ interpretations of this terminology and are these differences inherent or irreconcilable? We broke down the concept of nationalism and explore the historical forces driving the concept of nationalism and the impact that has had on cross-Strait relations, in addition to how the use of the term has changed over time and what the repercussions are for its use today. Professor Suisheng Zhao (U. of Denver) and Mau-Kuei Chang (Academia Sinica in Taipei) was our guest panelists, and Professor Kerry Smith (Brown)  moderated.

Related article: 2011 Symposium / Political Theory / The Theory Behind the Conflict: Nationalism Across the Strait 

Peace Action Roundtable: Strait Talk Peace Projects Peer Critique
Time: Wednesday, November 16, 12:00-2:00 PM
Location: Smith-Buonanno 101

One of the most important goals of the Strait Talk mission is to empower our delegates to return to their communities and be the drivers of change for peace in new and creative ways. To accomplish this, we challenge the delegates to create Peace Projects — innovative solutions for tackling some of the issues presented by the Taiwan Strait conflict. The form of these projects can range from creating new types of social networks to recording oral histories, and they are all crafted so that the delegates can successfully implement them after leaving the Strait Talk Symposium. Hosted by Alan Harlam from the Swearer Center for Public Service.

Final Presentation of the Strait Talk Symposium to the Brown Community
Time: Wednesday, November 16, 8:00-9:00 PM
Location: Kassar Fox Auditorium

Strait Talk was founded on the principle that young people really do have the power and ability needed to create change on a global scale. After a week of intensive interactive conflict resolution dialogue, panels by experts on how media, entrepreneurship, museums, and political theory relate to and influence Mainland China-Taiwan-US relations — and significant interpersonal bonding and networking — all of our delegates presented the Consensus Document that they have created. The Consensus Document outlines actionable steps towards a tangible solution to the cross-Strait issue and is a document whose every single word all 15 delegates from Mainland China, Taiwan and the US agree upon. 

Related article: Strait Talk Symposium 2011 | Final PresentationStrait Talk Symposium forges ‘peacemakers’