In times of globalization the interdependencies between the actors on the international stage are getting ever tighter. Despite enhanced communication, misunderstandings sometimes abound and can lead to serious setbacks in the diplomatic realm.
One reason for communication problems lies in the lack of mutual understanding of the very concept of things, mostly due to different cultural backgrounds.
To remove the ambiguities and come to a better comprehension of each other, cultural exchange and a constant dialogue is necessary. The conference on "Conceptual Gaps in China-EU Relations" was focused on increasing the mutual understanding of the two parties by discussing some of the most basic concepts in international relations: "sovereignty, human rights, multilateralism / multipolarization, strategic partnerships, soft power and global governance". The goal to identify "conceptual gaps" was easily reached in the sometimes heated discussions during the one and a half days of the conference. A constructive exchange on the actual impact of those gaps on political decision making and the need to bridge those gaps - coming from both sides - took place.
One conclusion of the conference was very clear: we have done much of the analysis, but on how to bridge the gap much learning remains to be done. A first step in that direction has been made: it was agreed on a follow-up event.