China’s burgeoning economy has helped to transform that nation into a major global player on multiple fronts, and, on April 1, a captivated audience listened to His Excellency Liu Jieyi, the ambassador of China to the United Nations (U.N.), deliver the annual McGill Lecture in International Studies on the role of China in the U.N. The event was co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Connecticut and United Technologies Corporation.

Liu described how the U.N. was founded 70 years ago in October 1945, following the end of World War II. At its inception, the U.N. had 51 member states; today, there are 193. He noted that the global community had dramatically changed over time and that the following four trends took place in the world over the past 20 years or so: decolonization, the end of the Cold War, multi-polarization, and globalization.

He also discussed the greater interdependence in the world and how countries shouldn’t be isolated. “Security is indivisible,” he said, and “no country can build its security on the insecurity of others.” He also stressed the importance of an international community for partnership. “There are nearly 200 countries in the world,” said Liu. “The only way to get things done is for everyone to chip in and foster a rule-based international framework. We need a new paradigm of international relations based on win-win cooperation.”

Charles McGill III ’63, Patricia McGill, Ambassador Liu Jieyi, President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, and Xiangming Chen, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Global Urban Studies and dean and director of the Center for Urban and Global StudiesPhoto by John Atashian

Charles McGill III ’63, Patricia McGill, Ambassador Liu Jieyi, President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, and Xiangming Chen, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Global Urban Studies and dean and director of the Center for Urban and Global Studies
Photo by John Atashian

One of China’s top experts on U.N. issues, arms control, and U.S.-China relations, Liu graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University and joined China’s Foreign Service in 1987. He has served as the director-general of the Department of International Organizations and Conferences, the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, and the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He previously was the assistant minister and vice minister of foreign affairs, as well as vice minister of the Ministry of International Liaison. He has twice served as president of the U.N. Security Council.

The McGill International Studies Fund was established in 1996 with a gift from Patricia C. and Charles H. McGill III ’63. The gift helped secure a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The fund supports the appointment of visiting humanities scholars, primarily international scholars, in the academic areas of international studies that include African studies, Asian studies, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, global studies, and Russian and Eurasian studies.

For more photos, please visit the flickr gallery from the lecture.