11 October 2023

Geneva Forum on East Asia 2023

Ahead of the third annual Geneva Forum on East Asia, Mahnoor Khan of the Contemporary East Asia Studies Initiative (CEAS) shares this year's vision for the Forum.

This is the third year that CEAS will organise the Geneva Forum on East Asia. What topics will the Forum focus on this year?

This year’s Geneva Forum on East Asia will focus on a range of topics, from the role of trade in preventing conflict and fostering peace between nations to environmental sustainability and career opportunities in East Asia. Talks and seminars will focus on three important pillars: academic, social, and career. Attendees will be able to attend these events both in-person at the Institute and online.

This year’s itinerary includes sessions on digital trade and e-commerce, peacebuilding processes, conflict prevention, and multilateralism. There will be discussions with diplomats, civil society leaders, employers, and academics from East Asia about opportunities in the region for students and young professionals who are just starting their careers. In fact, there is a separate seminar exclusively dedicated to navigating one’s career in Geneva with organisations working in or focusing on the East Asian region.

How does the Forum contribute to furthering knowledge about East Asia? 

This year’s forum aims to give students at the Graduate Institute an exclusive audience with leading voices and personalities from East Asia, including ambassadors, award-winning filmmakers, academics, and those working in organisations in Geneva that are looking for young and highly motivated graduates who have an academic or professional interest in the East Asian region.

With this year’s overarching theme being trade in East Asia and its connection with fostering peace and multilateralism, we have sessions dedicated to exploring the role of e-commerce in fostering economic integration and development across the Asia-Pacific region, understanding the role of intersectionality and identity in peacebuilding, and lessons that East Asian nations can learn from the war in Ukraine on how best to prevent armed conflict between countries with a view to fostering lasting peace.


What are some of the main challenges facing this region of the world in 2023?

The East Asian region faces a number of unique challenges that threaten to stall multilateral cooperation between nations, which is essential to the economic empowerment of communities including women and young people. The war in Ukraine has raised alarm bells amongst scholars working on East Asia who can draw parallels with Taiwan’s long and contested path towards self-determination, a journey that has been under attack from a significantly more powerful and hostile neighbour.

Consequently, this year’s forum will engage experts from East Asia on the role that trade and multilateralism have to play in preventing the outbreak of conflict.

Additionally, given the linguistic, cultural, and ethnic diversity of communities in East Asia, this year’s Forum will also address the question of gender and minority representation in politics and how it can facilitate peacebuilding processes between and amongst nations.