TLS 2020 | Why New Silk Roads?

Since 2016, the annual Transcultural Leadership Summit has become one of the foremost events aimed at tackling the increasingly important questions and challenges of leadership in a globalized world. Following the great success of recent conferences, we once again invite experts from various fields to engage in dialogue with practitioners, academics, and students from all over the world. We believe that a better understanding of transculturality will help to build global leaders. Driven by this ambition, the fifth Transcultural Leadership Summit will take place on 5 and 6 November at Zeppelin University, in Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance.

As a group of enthusiastic students led by Professor Josef Wieland, Director of the Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin, we are proud to create a platform where economic, cultural, societal and political aspects of topical global issues are discussed. This year’s Summit will focus from a European perspective on the emergence of new economic areas and on the indubitably most prominent attempt to create such an area, the New Silk Road, initiated by China in 2013.

As an ambitious project, the New Silk Road creates global value chains in a network that connects Europe, Asia, and Africa and that is characterised by maximum diversity in languages, traditions, values, as well as political, social, and economic systems and settings. As one of the most fascinating and risky developments driving the formation of a global society, this initiative not only seeks the economic integration of more than 70 countries, but also involves manifold political and cultural challenges. Accordingly, it represents a global economic, political, social, and cultural experiment with potentially beneficial but also potentially disruptive consequences for all involved.

Following the theme of last year’s Transcultural Leadership Summit, Europe, we want to focus on the European perspective: regarding the New Silk Roads’ geo-political and economic implications for, on the one hand, Europe’s and the EU’s role in the world and, on the other hand, for Europe’s coherence as a political and economic regional network. Against this background it is important to contribute understanding of what the New Silk Road means in economic, political and cultural terms for the European countries involved. Accordingly, our focus is on the transcultural nature, on the determinants and functional conditions of such projects as global communities of practice. We combine academic input, case studies as well as cultural projects to provide a multi-perspective arena for discussion, exchange and learning.