A prominent feature of the Alliance is that it is present in the two largest countries of the world: China and India. Moreover, it is significant that, beyond trade relations, the first milestones of a cross-cultural dialogue between these two countries have been placed in the past two years.
For China, the February 2003 meeting in Beijing constituted the end of a stage initiated by our meeting with She Kou in June 1993 and the beginning of a new phase. The record of our preparation of this meeting constitutes a very rich document. The publication of its results, which will be circulated shortly, will also be an essential document for the preparation of the future.
The content of these records would be long to develop in this memo. Last February’s meeting in Beijing was mainly designed as a meeting to evaluate ten years’ work of the FPH with its partners. Several FPH Programs and Policies carried out many activities with our Chinese partners, but did so independently from one another, with no interconnection among them. The preparation of the Beijing meeting and the meeting itself generated a stronger articulation, which can be particularly important for the future. It should also be observed that our Chinese partners, of their own initiative, placed the meeting in the framework of the Alliance, which is seen as a forum, a collective, mutually reinforcing working method. It is now up to us to pursue the process opened up in Beijing, something that will require particular attention insofar as, as everywhere else, maintaining and developing links among Allies and partners within a same country, big or small, is something of a considerable challenge.
In India, the Allies have taken initiatives more independently. Some responded to the Call for Initiatives, in particular the team facilitated by Siddhartha and the organization Pipal Tree based in Bangalore. Similarly, Makarand Paranjape based in Delhi facilitates, with his Chinese counterpart Yifeng Zhao based in Guandong, the Indo-Chinese dialogue. The approach being implemented by the team facilitated by Siddhartha is particularly interesting. It is not only focused on Bangalore. It reaches several regions of India and South-East Asia. The thematic and socioprofessional diversity of the meetings and the work is broad: religious leaders, politicians, organizations, artists, young people, women, journalists, etc. Circulation of the Papers and the Charter is done in print (through the magazine Butterfly Futures) and via a Web site specific to the Allies of the region (http://www.allasiapac.org/). Their activities are extensively reported in the press (Siddhartha is himself journalist and has been the facilitator of the Alliance’s Socioprofessional Network of Journalists). Moreover, on the occasion of every meeting, there are public events gathering thousands of people (mainly farmers, young people, and women), giving the seminars significant social repercussion and press coverage.
The initiatives planned for the continuation of the Indo-Chinese dialogue aim to reinforce links among groups of women, young people, and farmers of the two countries so they may draw up some proposals and play a decisive role in the new, dramatically changing societies of India and China. In addition to these meetings, cultural exchanges are being planned, among film directors for instance, in order to open the debates and discussions to a broader public.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Allies have remained scattered. They are present in the Philippines, in Thailand, and in Japan, but an articulation of the whole is yet to take place. In New Zealand and in the Islands of the Pacific, a new Geocultural Group answered the Call for Initiatives. Its approach is designed within the Maori farming and urban communities, among others. This too opens up a few fragile perspectives, but they will be able to progress if the Allies there are reinforced by a vast dynamics on a regional level.