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Third Online Seminar and Working Group Meetings of Global Town Hall Meeting

January 14 , 2021 10:29 AM by

On June 30th and July 6th to 10th, 2020, the Third Online Seminar and Working Group Meetings of the Global Town Hall Meeting were successfully held. The Meeting was sponsored by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the University of Pennsylvania, an evaluation institute of world-famous think tanks. As one of the co-sponsored think tanks and a member of the Think Tank Planning Committee, the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU) of Peking University has been invited to participate in the seminar for three consecutive years, holding continuous discussions with think tank experts and scholars across all continents on relevant issues following the COVID-19 outbreak. As a member of Working Group IV, the iGCU shared suggestions on how to strengthen international cooperation in response to future common crises.

Responding promptly and translating think tank ideas into the most effective actions

After the successful holding of the first and second rounds of online seminars, the third online seminar, held on June 30th, brought together nearly 600 leaders from thought and political circles to focus on further translating ideas and strategies into the most effective actions.

The seminar was chaired by Dr. James McGann, Director of the TTCSP. The heads of world-renowned think tanks and leaders from political circles attended and addressed the seminar, including John R. Allen, President of the Brookings Institution, Sven Smit, Co-chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Carlos Leal, President of the Getulio Vargas Foundation of Brazil, Adam Posen, President of the Peterson Institute for International Economics of the US, Carlos Lopes, Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and Jorge Argüello, Former Ambassador of Argentina to the United States and Representative of Argentina at the G20.

Dr. James McGann presides over the third online seminar


The five international interdisciplinary working groups, consisting of 181 think tanks from 96 countries and territories, shared their findings and initial proposals on their respective topics in five groups. The five issues were: (1) responding to public health crises; (2) formulating national and international strategies for economic recovery and revitalization; (3) identifying innovative and inclusive international public policies to help vulnerable groups; (4) promoting international cooperation on the establishment of a rapid, responsive and flexible system to deal with future crises; and (5) adapting to an uncertain future: a new mode of think tank operation – research, communication and funding. In the final plenary session of the Global Town Hall Meeting, the five working groups jointly introduced how to respond to the international impact of the pandemic as a public health crisis, and presented the research results of experts and scholars.

Presentations by working groups


International Cooperation - Establishing a Rapid, Responsive and Flexible System

As a member of the Working Group IV, the iGCU also participated in the Meeting of Working Group IV of the Global Town Hall Meeting held on the evening of July 9 th . Themed "International Cooperation - Establishing a Rapid, Responsive and Flexible System", the meeting focused on how to enhance the capacity and flexibility of crisis response in the foreseeable future by coordinating global forces with local responses.

Qi Haotian, Secretary-General of the iGCU of Peking University, was invited to deliver a speech on behalf of the iGCU. He pointed out that the key to strengthening international cooperation lies in inclusiveness, robustness, flexibility, coordination and globality. He proposed a plan for how to strengthen international cooperation.

First, based on current and short-term cooperation, we should jointly formulate and coordinate macroeconomic policies; take urgent action to secure the global food supply chain; better coordinate public health and international development to address the social and economic impacts posed by the public health crisis; and take joint action to mitigate the impacts on humanitarian operations, especially on operations for the most vulnerable.

Second, regarding future preparation and cooperation, we should build healthy and stable state-society relations, and strengthen the framework for collaboration between global public-private relations and between state and society; strengthen social connectivity and enhance our capacity to address crises through technological advancement; focus more on reducing human impacts to the environment in order to reduce risks at the source rather than on the early detection and control of disease outbreaks; and jointly elucidate the most important governance challenges and prioritize resource allocation.

Third, to enhance the inclusiveness and flexibility of the global governance system, we should establish an international coordination mechanism for "transnational prevention and control" and a platform for "health and technology cooperation"; participate in the transformation of the traditional governance model; promote the paradigm shift of global health governance and multilateral cooperation; and reduce the impact of isolationism, remain cautious about regarding epidemics as causes of isolationism, anti-immigration and anti-globalization sentiment, and institutionalized racism, promote people-to-people exchange in the fight against the pandemic, and intensify global cooperation and coordination in building mechanisms and setting the agenda.

Finally, Qi Haotian concluded that we should not only focus on practical challenges, but also prepare for unknown challenges in the foreseeable future. The current crisis is bound to bring innovative changes and developments in such areas as medical treatment, crisis response, economic recovery and social governance. Innovations in such areas will evolve rather than revolutionize. Innovation and advancement in global governance cannot be achieved overnight and require constant coordination and cooperation in the medium and long term.

Qi Haotian, Secretary-General of the iGCU of Peking University, speaks at the meeting on behalf of the iGCU


The speakers shared their views on the human resources and technology restructuring, integration of global social responsibilities, community of global coordination mechanisms and multi-dimensional response policies of all regions on the basis of their own research focuses. Under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community of Global Think Tanks demonstrated their team spirit and provided a theoretical framework and practical policy suggestions for the fight against the global crisis.

The Joint Fight against COVID-19: Leveraging the Strength of the Community of Global Think Tanks

The Global Town Hall Meeting is an online seminar series jointly sponsored by the TTCSP of the University of Pennsylvania and nearly 400 of the most influential think tanks on all continents. With more than 90 think tanks from all over the world forming the Think Tank Planning Committee, the Meeting has been the largest global think tank meeting since the COVID-19 outbreak. Themed "To Save Lives and Protect the People's Livelihood", from April 7th to July 9th, hundreds of think tank scholars, experts and leaders from political circles around the world gathered to discuss the challenges and changes encountered by the international community under the impact of COVID-19, propose analyses and feasible suggestions, and bring diverse perspectives to human security and global governance. Since the first seminar, the five working groups have conducted in-depth discussions aimed at eventually accumulating fruitful programs in five aspects for reference by governments and regional and global intergovernmental organizations. In this unprecedented international public health crisis, think tanks and scholars from all over the world have shown strong synergy and contributed to crisis management and the formulation of global public policy.

Wang Dong, Executive Director of the iGCU of Peking University, speaks at the Second Seminar


As the only new think tank in China to have been invited to participate in the seminar for three consecutive years, the iGCU of Peking University participates in the work of the Planning Committee and plays an important role in agenda setting, meeting arrangement, think tank proposals, etc. Wang Dong, Executive Director of the iGCU of Peking University, was invited to speak on the topic of "Global Food Security" at the second seminar. He proposed to promote the construction of a community of shared future for mankind in the global fight against the pandemic, and safeguard the lives and common interests of humankind. He voiced Chinese scholars' views on the value orientation and practical actions of the global fight against the pandemic.

Heads of Think Tanks at the "Global Town Hall Meeting"