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China-Italy ties can benefit from new ‘Silk Roads’

Updated: Oct 21,2014 8:12 AM     Xinhua

In an increasingly connected world, shared social and education policies can play a key role in fostering fruitful collaboration between China and Italy, Italian scholars said in comments on Premier Li Keqiang’s recent visit to Italy.

While Chinese and Italian companies were signing deals worth 8 billion euros ($10 billion) in Rome last week, meetings held in various parts of Italy highlighted new “Silk Roads”-from education programs to cooperation on disability issues and environmental protection.

On Oct 18, Milan hosted the Meeting of Group of Friends on Disability Issues. For the first time, disability was also included in the agenda of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) that closed in Milan on Oct 17, thanks to China’s active part in advocating cooperation in the field of disability among ASEM member countries.

Italy has a long tradition of welfare policies, and collaboration with China can help both countries as well as the international community make further steps, Giovanni Andornino, professor of international relations of East Asia at the University of Turin, told Xinhua.

Andornino, who is also editor of OrizzonteCina, an online monthly about contemporary China, said that there is still little knowledge in Italy about China. Thus, now more than ever, there is the need for “fresh cultural keys” that include fulfilling the new necessities of global society.

For example, more investment in China’s “Italy watchers” by attracting Chinese scholars who have in-depth knowledge of Italian culture to Italian universities will be crucial to upholding bilateral relations on a stronger basis, Andornino said.

The role of education was especially central at the Science, Technology and Innovation Week. The event featured five days of exhibitions and seminars organized in the southern city of Naples as well as the Italy-China Innovation Forum on Oct 16 in business capital Milan.

Speaking at the forum in the presence of the Premier, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stressed the importance of sharing education policies.

Italy’s biggest value is the quality of its students, whose innovative ideas will help fuel the future, Renzi said.

“It is not easy to imagine a shared future between Italy and China without thinking of the magnificent past that the two countries have in common”, but new bridges must also be created to boost dialogue in present times, Renzi said.

Tiziana Lippiello, a professor of Chinese language and literature at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, said that ancient culture should remain the basis of exchange and become the root for collaboration on issues that are crucial in today’s connected world.

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