G2+1= pizza!

HD organizes conference with Dean Stéphanie Balme to discuss the role of Europe in Taiwan Strait Sovereignty issue

“In Le Havre, I feel like home”. With this kind remark, Stéphanie Balme began her speech to an Amphi crowded with students who listened attentively, a slice of pizza in their hands, as though “they were in a movie”, as the speaker said.

On the October 27th, HD (Havrais Dire) was responsible for the organization of the event “G2+1 in perspective: the Taiwan Strait Crisis”, which aimed to discuss the role of the G2+ 1 in the Taiwan issue. The amphi was full. Not only the subject inspired a lot of controversy among students, which could be attested by the fact that questions were posed until lights shut down on campus, but because HD took their lessons in microeconomics seriously.

KIM Inwoo- our HD president
HD members as economics majors

As experienced choice architects, they decided to provide tangible incentives that would take utility maximizing and ( sometimes) rational students out of their inertia. Cognitive bias of collective validation ( what this crowd is for? I want in!) did the rest. After a small delay the hungry students were ready to discuss geopolitics.

Less than 90 minutes was definitely not enough time to unfold every aspect of  one the most complex international conflicts of our time, but those present appreciated the effort and expertise of the speaker. When describing the concept of G2+1, Balme listed the parties as such: “Europe, US, China,” cognisant of their order, and acknowledging the personal bias towards considering her home continent being mentioned first. It’s only natural that one would rearrange the sequence depending on the party they give priority to. While this may seem like a trivial observation, the speaker pointed out this partiality to segue into the fact that to solve, or even begin discussing, a topic as sensitive as the Taiwan crisis, everyone must think of the perspective of the opposing governments, in the true nature of international diplomacy.

Dean Stéphanie Balme

The campus of Sciences-Po Le Havre seems the ideal place for this sentiment, the diversity amongst the student demographics allowing a truly comprehensive view of the ‘case study,’ a term used by the speaker to maintain an academic tone. The QnA session saw a range in discussion, from the role of nationalism in the issue, to the struggles of a united Europe post Italy-elections, and even pondered the possible invasion of China, although Balme termed the last hypothetical ‘science-fiction.’ Nodding back to the previous mention of diversity, the questions were posed by students originally from France, Singapore, China, the USA, Vietnam, India, Japan and more. This attests not only to the genuine interest in the Asia-track, but also to the speaker’s closing remarks underlying the universality of this case study, drawing close attention to its possible effects around the globe.

A glimpse into our campus’ cohorts

‘Strategic ambiguity’ was a term she explained during this session, discussing the USA’s varied responses to the Taiwan issue. If there’s one piece of advice that the amphitheater of (no.of capacity?) politically inclined students could take away from the panel, is the need for assurance in a world of cryptic foreign policy. The importance of whittling diplomacy down with honesty and humanity to be able to design a new, non-Western centric, safe world order.


Author: Le Dragon Déchaîné

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