A Cultural Window into Economic Growth




  On March  2009, Meridian International Center welcomed a panel of five prestigious individuals to discuss US-China Relations. Panelists included Fan Di’An, Director of the National Museum of Art of China, Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Former Under Secretary of State of Democracy & Global Affairs and Former Member Congressional Executive Commission on China, Dr. Bruce Cole, President and CEO of the American Revolution Center at Valley Forge & Former Chairman and National Endowment for the Humanities, John Pomfret, editor of Outlook of The Washington Post and author of Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and a Story, and James Kitfield, a Senior Correspondent of The National Journal. The panel discussion was in collaboration with the exhibit Metropolis Now! A Selection of Contemporary Chinese Art on display at the Cafritz White-Meyer Galleries through July.

Opening remarks began with Minister Shu, the Minister of Culture from the Embassy of China, who stressed the importance of US-China relations and called the event “unique and distinctive” due to the fact that this event takes place in the first decade of the 30th anniversary of the normalization of US-China relations. He praised the exhibition bringing special attention to the joint efforts of Meridian International Center, The National Gallery of Art of China, and the Embassy of China for making the event possible. Following Minister Shu’s comments was a brief introduction by Robert Coonrod, Chief Operating Officer at Meridian, who welcomed the panelists. James Kitfield, having written about the strategic relationship of US and China, began the panel discussion by bringing attention to the opportunities, such as the Olympics held in Beijing last year, as well as the dangers the relationship holds in terms of transparency and investments.

The focus then turned to the role of culture in the US-China relationship where Fan Di’an led the discussion. Mr. Di’an mentioned that art has always had a double function: to express the art itself and the values it holds and also to reflect the society and community. Fan Di’an linked the social development of the 20th century and Chinese art and culture in conjunction with the opening up of their society. Mr. Di’an accompanied his comments with a video displaying his analysis of Chinese social development and the transformation of Chinese art into three stages. He detailed the history of China and the impact it had on Chinese art. Mr. Di’an then focused on the opening up of society in the 21st century.