Event Recap: New Geoeconomics in the Indo-Pacific

On May 7th, 2021, the US China Education Trust and Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding at Peking University hosted the third session of a series of closed-door webinars focusing on Trilateral Perspectives from the United States, China, and India. This session, The New Geoeconomics of the Indo-Pacific, engaged three outstanding experts with a long track record in the region. Dr. Rakesh Mohan, President of the Centre for Social and Economic Progress and former Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, presented the Indian viewpoint; Minister Yu Hongjun, Director General of the China Center for Contemporary World Studies and former Vice Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, and Robert Zoellick, Chairman of AllianceBernstein and former President of the World Bank, offered viewpoints from their respective countries.

Over 80 participants attended, coming from academia, business, government, and think tanks with decades of experience in the region. In addition, undergraduate and graduate students from seven universities (American University, George Washington University, Government Law College – Mumbai, Indian Institute of Management – Jammu, Michigan State University, Peking University, and Tsinghua University) were in attendance. Topics of discussion included economic change in the region, technological changes, shifts in the world trade system, and economic recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19. In addition, the speakers concurred that there was potential for cooperation amongst the three countries, with climate change cited as a common example.


Dr. Rakesh Mohan
Dr. Rakesh Mohan is President and Distinguished Fellow at CSEP. Rakesh Mohan was most recently Senior Fellow in the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University and was also Professor in the Practice of International Economics and Finance at the School of Management at Yale University, 2010-12. He has also served as Distinguished Consulting Professor at Stanford University in 2009. Mohan was also a Distinguished Fellow with Brookings India. He has been closely associated with the Indian economic reforms process from the late 1980s. He was Executive Director on the Board of the International Monetary Fund, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Secretary, Economic Affairs, and Chief Economic Adviser of the Indian Ministry of Finance, and Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Industry.

Minister YU Hongjun
YU Hongjun achieved his PhD in Laws at Renmin University of China. YU is currently a visiting professor and doctoral supervisor of Guangzhou University, chief researcher of the Charhar Institute, and Vice President of Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament. He used to be the former member of the Subcommittee of Foreign Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, former Vice Minister of International Department of the CPC Central Committee and Director General of China Center for Contemporary World Studies, former Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Uzbekistan, former Deputy Director of Bureau of Soviet Union and former Director of Bureau of Central Asia of International Department of the CPC Central Committee, former chief secretary of Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Kazakhstan, former Counselor of Bureau of Policy Studies of Office of the Foreign Affairs Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee, former Deputy Director and Director of Research Office of International Department of the CPC Central Committee and former instructor at Party School of the Jilin Provincial Committee of CPC.

Robert Zoellick
Robert Zoellick is the non-executive chairman of AllianceBernstein, a leading global investment management firm that offers high-quality research and diversified investment services to institutional investors, individuals, and private wealth clients in major world markets.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  In addition, Zoellick serves on the boards of Temasek, Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, and Laureate International Universities.  He also is a member of the board of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, chairs the Global Tiger Initiative, and is a member of the Global Leadership Council of Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian agency. Zoellick was the President of the World Bank Group from 2007-12, U.S. Trade Representative from 2001 to 2005, and Deputy Secretary of State from 2005 to 2006. From 1985 to 1993, Zoellick served as Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury and Under Secretary of State, as well as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff.


Ambassador Teresita Schaffer
Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer served at US embassies in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, and from 1992-95 as US Ambassador in Sri Lanka. During her assignments in the State Department in Washington, she was Director of the Office of International Trade and later Deputy Assistant Secretary of state for the Near East and South Asia, at that time the Senior South Asia Policy position in the State Department. She was previously a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and also the Founding Director of the South Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, directing it from 1998-2010. Ambassador Schaffer holds a degree from Bryn Mawr College, studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, and completed graduate work at Georgetown University. She speaks Hindi, Urdu, French, Swedish, German and Italian.