1st NEWDAY Summer course successfully completed

From July 4th to the 14th, 42 participants, with 19 from the Nordic countries, 23 from Asia, together with 18 lecturers and speakers, joined the first Nansen East-West Dialogue Academy (NEWDAY) at Nansen Academy, Lillehammer, Norway. NEWDAY was initiated and co-organized by the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), and Nansen Academy. During the ten days of the summer course, participants from East and West were brought together and engaged in dialogues, discussions, debates, and lectures on the pressing challenges of today’s world, such as the Korean Peninsula, climate change, new media a political populism, as well as topics such as education, the Nordic model, and cross-cultural communication.

The first day of NEWDAY was arranged to help participants get a better understanding of its mission. In the morning, the three main organizers, Unn Irene Aasdalen, rector of the Nansen Academy; Chunrong Liu, executive vice director of Fudan-European Centre for China Studies, and Geir Helgesen, director of NIAS, firstly presented their ideas and motivations behind the initiation of NEWDAY. After that, Unn Irene introduced the Nansen Academy and the mission of 'dannelse'. After lunch, Inge Eidsvaag, author and former head of the Nansen Academy, introduced the life of Fridtjof Nansen and his legacies for today’s world. Then all the participants visited the museum of “Maihaugen”, tasting the traditional Norwegian porridge, experiencing the Norwegian traditional instrument and music, and visiting traditional Norwegian farmer houses and churches. Lastly after dinner, Carol Kvande, a music teacher, performed several beautiful songs to introduce the Nordic way of life.

On July 5th, NEWDAY started with a philosophical comparison of the East and West, with a talk from Bent Nielsen, associate professor of Chinese philosophy from the University of Copenhagen. Then participants were brought to the issue of the Korean Peninsula. Choi Jong Kun, associate professor from Yonsei University, suggested adding a peace menu to solve the North Korea problem. In the afternoon, participants were introduced to the art of cyanotype, with each of them making their own art work from the plants in the garden of Nansen Academy.

In the morning of July 6th, Geir Helgesen began NEWDAY with a talk on the importance of political culture in politics and how we need to take culture into perspective to better understand others. Then Chunrong Liu shared his cross-country experience of working in Denmark, and how Chinese wisdom is also shared by the Danish society. In the afternoon, participants were divided into different groups, discussing the pressing challenges of today’s world, and then presenting and debating together. At night, participants visited the once-in-a-year night-open market in Lillehammer.

On July 7th, Zhang Lifen, professor of journalism from Fudan University, started NEWDAY with a talk on the social media in China and the progress of China in media development. He also introduced WeChat to the participants, and shared his positive expectations on the future of media development in China. After that, John Jones, freelance journalist and teacher in peace education programmes in Oslo, shared his insights into mass media and how people can best deal with the challenges of it. In the afternoon, participants were divided into two groups. One went to Tyrili and experienced indoor climbing, while the other visited the local art museum. After dinner, Daniel Bell, Zhang Lifen, and Geir Helgesen had a panel debate on the issue of friendship and enemies in international relations, such as US-China relations and the issue of North Korea.

On the morning of July 8th, Daniel A. Bell, professor of Tsinghua University and Dean at Shandong University, presented his insights into meritocracy in China and how it could be combined with democracy. In the afternoon, participants were divided into different groups and joined a photo workshop presenting his or her own country and himself or herself. At night, participants gathered in the garden and had a bundle fire party.

On July 9th, NEWDAY started with an excursion along the Mjøsa lake, walking along the bank and enjoyed the beautiful mountains and lake there. In the afternoon, participants were introduced to Chinese calligraphy, learning how to use brush and write down their names. In the evening, participants watched a film on the issue of animal protection around the world.

The July 10th focused on the issue of climate change and environmental protection. In the morning, Katherine Richardson, professor and head of sustainability science center, from the University of Copenhagen, introduced the concept of “planetary boundary” and how climate change is being managed at a global level. In the afternoon, Katherine and Daniel Bell had a debate over the moral issue of climate change, such as the moral responsibility of developed countries, and the concept of global citizenship. After that, participants visited the home of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in Aulestad, the Nobel laureate in literature, listening to his life and stories.

The July 11th concentrated on education. Svein Sjøberg, professor of science education from University of Oslo, shared his critical view on the development of PISA and its impact on the education policies of many nation states. After that, Svein and Bjørn Bredal, head of Borup People High School, debated over the challenges of education in the Nordic countries. At night, several participants presented their performances.

On July 12th, James Wertsch, professor and head of international studies from Washington University, started NEWDAY with his insights into the causes of the rising populism in the US, including polarization, automation, and alienation. Then Lars Bo Kasperson, professor of political sociology from Copenhagen Business School, shared his theory of survival units and its implications for the understanding of war and its pause. After that, Bjørn Bredal presented his view of the origin of the folk high school, and the missions of the folk high school today. In the afternoon, participants visited the home of Sigrid Undset, another Nobel laureate in literature. At night, all the participants shared their feedback and wishes for NEWDAY.

July 13th was the summit of NEWDAY. In the morning, Olemic Thommessen, MP and president of the Norwegian Parliament, gave a speech on global peace from the Nordic experiences. After that, Chen Zhimin, associate vice president of Fudan University, shared his insights into the new global leadership and proposed the concept of“facilitative leadership”. Then Ingunn Trosholmen, deputy mayor of Lillehammer, presented her view on how skiing has bound China and Norway together and made ways for the future. In the afternoon, Yeom Jaeho, president of Korea University, gave a lecture on his expectation of future education and the talents needed, as well as his reforms of Korea University. Then a summit was held, with Chen Zhimin, Yeom Jaeho, Lars Bo Kaspersen, and Daniel Bell, debating over the challenges of this world. Lastly, the City of Lillehammer hosted a reception for all the participants, with Unn Urene giving a concluding speech to NEWDAY. Along with the tunes of an inspiring music performance, NEWDAY was successfully completed.