Scotland and China have moved closer thanks to the Sustainable Silk Roads Conference presented at the University of Edinburgh’s historic McEwan Hall this week, attracting almost 200 delegates and 40 expert speakers from Asia, the UK and Europe.

Photographs of the conference plenaries and workshop can now be seen in the Gallery section of this website.

Organised by the Confucius Institute for Scotland, China Britain Business Council and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT), and the World Alliance for Low Carbon Cities, the conference has been acknowledged by delegates to be a landmark in our understanding of Chinese institutions and the evolving partnerships supporting the ‘Belt and Road’ policy.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivered an impressive keynote address and set the geo-political context of BRI for delegates, before sessions on energy, water, green buildings and infrastructure, finance, and data/mobility gave us an understanding of the scale of the programme, the international partnerships supporting it and ways in which Scottish organisations could play an active role.

“There’s no doubt get that academic, business and governmental understanding between China and Scotland around BRI have improved markedly as a consequence of the SSR conference,” says Professor Natascha Gentz, Assistant Principal (China) and Director of the Confucius Institute for Scotland. “This is the first of a series of events and conferences we are planning to ensure that Belt and Road is firmly on the agenda for Scottish organisations who wish to play a part and benefit from its reach.”

Download PDF of full Conference Programme including speaker biographies.


Edinburgh has a proud history as a European city pioneering innovation and was recently named one of the world’s Top 20 Most Sustainable Cities, making it a fitting location for this Sustainable Silk Roads conference.

The venue for the conference was the recently refurbished iconic McEwan Hall in the University of Edinburgh –  a superb venue in which to hold this conference.


Watch McEwan Hall preview here

McEwan Hall Preview from CAHSS Webteam on Vimeo.