With each polity struggling to find consensus within its own borders, the continuing Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the woeful inadequacy of our modern state system to respond effectively to a global crisis. In this largely anarchic response to only one crisis among the many that are looming, what is missing is a global consciousness — an awareness of our interdependence in addressing issues on a planetary scale.
In 2018, the Berggruen China Center responded to the lack of a “whole-world vision” by initiating a program under the rubric Tianxia or “all under heaven”. As the ongoing Covid-19 crisis continues to bring this deficiency into sharp focus, Berggruen China Center’s Tianxia program has gained ever more currency as a humble attempt to inventory the world’s cultures in search of a strategy for “taking the world as the world.”
In order to build upon the theoretical foundation of the Tianxia system (天下体系) first proposed by contemporary philosopher Zhao Tingyang (赵汀阳) in 2005, the Berggruen China Center initiated the first instalment of its continuing Tianxia program in June 2018. Since this inaugural conference, the program has gathered leading thinkers to discuss and debate how the theory of Tianxia can serve as inspiration for rethinking global governance and rebuilding trust in humanity’s shared future. True to its dedication to cross-cultural and interdisciplinary research into the transformations affecting humanity, Berggruen China Center’s Tianxia program has brought together ideas from across a wide spectrum of cultural and intellectual terrain.
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