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September 20, 2018

Georgetown University and La Civiltà Cattolica Announce China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue

Speaker talks into microphone at event in San Francisco
Speaker talks into microphone at event in San Francisco

Two leading Catholic and Jesuit institutions, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) and La Civiltà Cattolica (Rome), have announced a new platform for dialogue with China.

The China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue brings Chinese thought leaders together with international counterparts to discuss common challenges at the intersection of culture, technology, and global society. The forum’s first three topics will be the crisis of ecological civilization; the ethics of artificial intelligence; and humanities education for a global era.

“China is home to a rich civilization that has found diverse expression in philosophy, the arts, and society,” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. “We look forward to deepening the dialogue across a range of critical contemporary issues.”

The China Forum plans to host expert seminars and high-level public events in leading global cities, including Rome, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Beijing. A first seminar, hosted by the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at the University of San Francisco, brought together Chinese and Western scholars in August to address the changing role of the humanities in higher education. A first major public event, on the global ecological crisis, will take place in December in Rome. It will feature New York Times journalist Thomas L. Friedman in dialogue with Beijing University Professor Wang Jisi.

The forum carries forward the tradition of Fr. Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) the early Jesuit missionary whose appreciation of Chinese language, history, and customs provide a model for productive intercultural encounter. "We have learned so much from Chinese culture, which arrived in Europe thanks to the study and passion of the Jesuits," says Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., director of La Civiltà Cattolica. "Today geopolitical and cultural challenges make it essential to deepen the encounter with China on issues relating to our common home, the world, and its harmony.”

To learn more about the forum and to sign up for the mailing list, visit the multilingual website (English, Chinese, Italian).

Georgetown University is the oldest and largest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in Washington, D.C.; Doha, Qatar; and around the world.

La Civiltà Cattolica is a bimonthly journal published in Rome by the Society of Jesus. Founded in 1850 with the support of Pope Pius IX, it is the only journal overseen by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See and is among the oldest periodicals in the world. Since 2017 it has appeared in English, Spanish, French, and Korean, in addition to Italian.