A new book dubbed ‘Managing Cross-cultural Dynamics for a Shared Future China-Ethiopia Cultural Constructs’ launched this week at Sky Light Hotel, Addis Ababa.
The book is the outcome of a joint academic research and insights undertaken by the Ethiopian Centre for Dialogue, Research and Cooperation (CRDC) and the Center for International Business Ethics at the University of International Business and Economics of China.
The research work identified and categorized commonalities of the two countries’ cultures and aims to fill communication gaps using comparative approach by putting forth different recommendations. Defining culture as a product of historical heritage and communal legacy evolving through time with exposure to external influences, the newly published book stressed that “cooperation between different societies is not only rendered possible, but also feasible and productive.” Keeping this in mind, the Book affirmed that boosting cross-cultural cooperation between Ethiopia and China is imperative to spur the Sino-Ethiopia strategic relations.
During the launching ceremony of the Book, Former Ambassador to the UN, Tekeda Alemu (PhD), Member of the Board of Trustees of CDRC, explained that the two countries had similar historical challenges in terms of maintaining their independence. “Such a reality has facilitated the creation of the basis for mutually advantageous cooperation. This has also been the character and nature of China’s relations with the rest of Africa,” he said.
“No matter what some might say by way of costing aspirations on relations between China and Africa, an objective assessment must show that Africa has been beneficiary in its cooperation with this country whose role globally has been growing very fast and has become a nation which cannot be ignored,” he added.
Tekeda, who also served as the East African country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said China’s relations with Ethiopia and fellow African countries “is demonstrated by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is bound to have a major and historical impact in terms of bringing people from different parts of the world together. It is a project which builds bridges between peoples together, not creating a wall between them.”
According to the book, Ethiopia is playing a pivotal role in the BRI on its merit in strategic location, historical heritage, long-standing friendly relationship with China, and especially its drive towards economic transformation and democratic governance. It also argued that the East African country possesses most of the rudimentary conditions to emerge as a role model with best practice for BRI strategy, while the large potential which remains untapped needs to be exploited via joint endeavors.
“This is also why the cultural dimension is so critical. Misunderstandings created by wrong interpretation of behavior shaped by cultural predisposition could be harmful as they could also undermine relations of cooperation that is otherwise extremely beneficial,” Tekeda said, adding “Mutual understanding of the challenges in this area is most critical to ensure that relations between China and Ethiopia would be sustainable and would be further deepened in the mutual interest of the two countries.”
“We all know that both Ethiopia and China have very long history, and we also have very colorful cultures,” said Zhang Zhenhai, Deputy General Manager of CCECC Ethiopia Construction PLC,repr
The Centre for Dialogue, Research and Cooperation (CRDC), which jointly developed the book, is a nonprofit and independent Ethiopia-based center of excellence that envisaged promoting the advancement of socioeconomic development and democracy.