16 Dec 2011

Today's blog post comes direct to us from the RSA's own Conference and Office Administrator, Jimmy Ancheta Jr, who recently travelled to Beijing to make sure everything is on track to welcome members to Beijing, China for the RSA's Global Conference from the 24th - 27th of June 2012! ... Over to you Jimmy!

Hello, fellow RSA members my name is Jimmy Ancheta Jr and I'm the Conference and Administration Officer at the RSA. I recently travelled to Beijing in preparation for the inaugural Regional Studies Association’s Global Conference 2012. Here are a just a few highlights from my trip.

Day 1 Monday 14 November 2011
I left England on Sunday afternoon and, after a delayed flight from London Gatwick, I finally landed at Beijing International Airport on Monday evening.
Beijing International Airport
After checking into the hotel I decided to take an evening walk to take in a few sights. My hotel was a convenient 10 minute walk to the Olympic Park Green, home of the National Olympic Stadium (Birds Nest) and the Aquatic Center (Water Cube) during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
National Olympic Stadium
Aquatic Center

Day 2 Tuesday 15 November 2011
Today was a very exciting day for the conference as I had the opportunity to meet with Professor Weidong Liu and his colleague, Zhouying Song of the Chinese Academy of Science, the host institution for the Global Conference 2012. We were able to visit the conference venue, Building No. 9 of the Beijing Conference Center.
The lobby of Building No.9 at the Beijing Conference Center
The lobby of Building No.9 at the Beijing Conference Center
Building No. 9 features two catered facilities where breakfast and lunch services will be held during the conference. Across the conference center in Building No. 5 is a grand ballroom which will be used as the location for the conference’s gala dinner.
Building No. 9's catered facilities
Building No. 5's grand ballroom
The conference sessions will be held above the lobby of Building No. 9. We were able to view two of the twelve meeting spaces that have been booked to hold sessions in the morning and afternoon.
Meeting space
Guest accommodation
Above the conference facilities, Building No. 9 also houses guest accommodation. Accommodation will be available at a discounted rate for delegates. The room includes high quality amenities, a work space and in room internet access. Delegates will also be able to benefit from coaches that will run to and from the conference center and the local metro station providing convenient transport services to the centre of Beijing.

Day 3 Wednesday 16 November 2011
Today I was able to experience the two excursion tours planned for the 2012 Global Conference. The first visit was to the Beijing Economic-technological Development Zone (BDA).
Beijing Economic-technological Development Zone
The area covers over 1,050 square kilometres and is host to over 65 Fortune 500 companies specialising in pharmaceuticals, information technology, mechanics, electronic and new materials. The area was designed to bring new business projects and employment opportunities to Beijing to promote growth. Delegates on the tour will be able to see firsthand the different zones and development progress happening at the BDA.
Zhongguancun National Innovation Demonstration Zone
The second option for the excursion tour will be to the Zhongguancun National Innovation Demonstration Zone (ZDG). The ZDG houses numerous amounts of high-technological firms, R&D centers and educational resources, fuelling the surge of economic development in Beijing. Delegates will be able to tour the grounds of the software park and view the current innovative projects occurring on site.

Both tours will run as optional activities on Wednesday 27th June 2012 and depart in the morning. Tours include return coach fair and lunch at a local restaurant.
Wangfujing market
During the evening I had the opportunity to explore the Wangfujing market. The area is one of Beijing’s largest shopping areas featuring a variety of shops and dinining opportunities. I opted to visit the open-air night market. The market is known as a great street for souvenier and bargain shopping, but also for exprencing traditonal Chinese dishes and unique and exotic delicaises if you’re feeling adventurous. 

Day 4 Thursday 17 November 2011
On my last full day in Beijing, despite the rainy weather, I ventured out to see a few sights.
National flag which faces the Tiananmen gate, leading to the Forbidden City
Great Hall of the People
My first stop was Tiananmen Square, named after the Tiananmen gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace). The square is the center of many focal and important buildings such as the Great Hall of the People, Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum, and the National flag which faces the Tiananmen gate, leading to the Forbidden City.
The Outer Court
Hall for Preserving Harmony
The Imperial Garden
Continuing on from Tiananmen square I crossed the street to the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City served as the official residence and ceremonial grounds for the Imperial family and now is preserved as a self guided museum covering 178 acres of land. The Outer Court was used as a ceremonial grounds and public gatherings, featuring a stairway that leads to the Hall for Preserving Harmony. Attached to the Inner Court the Imperial Garden features traditional Chinese landscape and temples that were used for meditation and to promote harmony and peaceful teaching. The Forbidden City also features rare collections of ceramics, paintings, jade and crafts, as well as documents that belonged to former emperors of China.

Day 5 Friday 18 November 2011

After four incredible and productive days in Beijing I am heading back to England. I wanted to first, thank Professor Weidong Liu and all of his colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Science for their kind hospitality throughout my visit. We were able to accomplish a lot of work in the planning of what is shaping up to be an exciting inaugural Global Conference.

Remember to mark your diaries for the Regional Studies Association Global Conference in Beijing, China on the 24th-27th June 2012. For information regarding the call for papers and registration please visit the conference website.

We look forward to welcoming you all to Beijing in 2012!