Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

Archbishop - China Emerging as Senior Partner in the Fellowship of Nations

Tuesday 10th October 2006

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken of China's immense potential in working to solve the world's problems.

Speaking at a reception for a Chevening scholars reunion in Nanjing earlier today, Dr Williams emphasised that China had its place in a future which will require nations to work together more than ever:

"... there are more and more problems in our world which no one nation can confront alone. So much of our history - Europe's - has been a history where we've imagined that because of national sovereignty independence of national economies, we can sort out our own business. And of course the big challenges of our day; challenges such as the environment, the challenges of health and health care and the way in which modern disease spreads, the challenges posed by global communications systems - all of these tell us that there are more and more things that we cannot resolve alone."

He had, he said, been expecting on his visit to be learning about the China of today but it was the potential for the future that was most apparent:

"China is emerging as a senior partner in the fellowship of nations; a country whose economy is changing so fast and whose profile in the world has become so recognisable and distinctive that we can't imagine a global future without the Chinese presence. It's a presence which can do great good; it's a presence which has the capacity to push forward agendas, for instance about development and particularly about sustainable development."

It would be important for the Chinese voice to be heard, he said, and hoped that the experience of the Chevening scholars would demonstrate that the process worked both ways:

"Yours is a society which will have messages to give to the rest of the world but I hope too that it's a society willing to receive and to hear what the rest of the world has to say and that process begins in experiences like yours. It begins in experiences of sharing a cultural distinctiveness in our different settings; it begins in developing that global awareness without which no civilisation is going to last."

Notes for editors:

The Chevening Scholarship is the flagship scholarship scheme of the UK Government. Each year over 2,000 students from 150 countries are sent to the UK to study, of which more than 150 come from China - the largest single national group. The scholars are chosen on the basis that they will become the opinion-formers and decision-makers of the future. The programme is highly competitive; applicants are assessed according to the merit of their applications, their qualifications (both academic and professional) and their English language ability.

Back · Back to top