The 98th Peking University Medical Humanities Forum: Zhang Qingmin: Health Diplomacy Lecture Series Ⅱ, Understanding Global Health Diplomacy

   On the afternoon of Friday, April 22nd, 2022, the 98th Peking University Medical Humanities Forum was held in Room 709, Yifu Teaching Building, Peking University Health Science Center. Professor Zhang Qingmin, Department of Diplomacy, School of International Studies, Peking University was invited to make a lecture entitled “Understanding Global Health Diplomacy”. It was chaired by Professor Guo Liping, Vice President of the School of Health Humanities, Peking University. Nearly 50 teachers and students from the School of Health Humanities, the School of Journalism and Communication, the Department of History and so forth in Peking University attended the lecture.

    There are five parts in Professor Zhang’s lecture: the concept of diplomacy and related misunderstandings; the formation and characteristics of global health diplomacy; the practice and experience of China’s participation in global health diplomacy; how to understand global health diplomacy; the conclusion.

    In the first part, Professor Zhang presented the differences between diplomacy in broad sense and diplomacy in narrow sense. He particularly emphasized that diplomacy refers to the use of intelligence and tact to handle official relations between the governments of independent countries, and refers to the use of peaceful means to regulate and handle relations between countries. Moreover, Professor Zhang talked about the revival of diplomacy, the crisis of diplomacy, the mystery and generalization of diplomacy, the unchanged nature of diplomacy and so forth.

    In the second part, Professor Zhang defined the concept of health diplomacy. He pointed out that health policy is a part of foreign policy and serves our national grand strategy. In the contemporary world, global health diplomacy has become a hot topic. It reflects and promotes diplomatic transformation. However, the COVID-19 has reshaped the diplomatic agenda, making people-oriented global health diplomacy the core.

    In the third part, Professor Zhang first introduced China’s experience in participating in global health diplomacy from a historical perspective. After that, he elaborated on the main content of China’s current health diplomacy, including health assistance, active participation in promoting the development of global public health governance within the United Nations system, as well as supporting the work of the World Health Organization. In addition, Professor Zhang gave some reflections on China’s health diplomacy. He advocated that both material and intellectual contributions should be made, and a comprehensive layout of health diplomacy should be established.

    In the fourth part, Professor Zhang put forward the concept of mutual promotion between global health diplomacy and domestic health work. Finally, he concluded that diplomacy is a method, a means, and a process, as well as a civilization, a culture, and an (art of) elegance. Each of us is a diplomat.

    During the questioning session, Professor Zhang discussed on the topics of “the role of non-state actors in the field of health diplomacy”, “global health diplomacy before the Cold War”, “the relationship between global health diplomacy and global health governance”, “research methods in health diplomacy or in other fields of diplomacy”, “Chinese style health diplomacy” and so on with the audience.


   Department of Language and Culture in Medicine

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