Iron Camel:  A Trans-national Look at Building, Maintaining and Operating the New Silk Roads

Iron Camel: A Trans-national Look at Building, Maintaining and Operating the New Silk Roads

Dr. John Betak, Collaborative Solutions LLC
July 12, 2015 (Sun) 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
ABQ Museum of Art & History

The “China Dream” of the “great rejuvenation of the nation” has been the hallmark of Xi Jinping’s presidency since he became the party chief in late 2012. President Xi’s main idea is to restore China’s pre-nineteenth century grandeur and influence to make it a “prosperous, strong, culturally advanced and harmonious country.” The proposed revival of a great trade route that two thousand years ago bridged Eastern and Western cultures across the Eurasian continent is front and center in the idea of a new “Silk Road economic belt” launched by President Xi during his tour of the Central Asian republics in October 2013. This belt is to mainly take shape along railway lines connecting several cities in western China to Europe via Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, the Balkans and the Caucasus across the 11,000-kilometer-long Eurasian continent. The Chinese authorities see this as a first step toward the creation of a Eurasian “economic corridor.” In his talk, John Betak will provide the historical context for this dream and compare the many parallels between today’s vision and the vision from more than 2,000 years ago. He will show there was not a single route, but many routes, and that commerce, ideas, etc. went both ways. He will then look at some of the current issues and themes associated with this “rejuvenation” and talk about what it takes in today’s world to build, maintain and operate the New Silk Roads or “Silk Road economic belt.”

John Betak is the Managing Member of Collaborative Solutions LLC; a Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers University; and a Senior Research Fellow, Center for Risk Management and Insurance, The University of Texas at Austin. He is a senior consultant with 50 years of diversified, international experience in management, consulting, administration and research in corporations, non-profits and major North American universities. John has been involved with transportation operations on a metropolitan, regional, super-regional, national and international level since 1964. He has been a transportation and land use planner in a regional planning organization, a consultant to regional planning organizations, a research investigator and research director addressing a wide variety of freight and passenger issues, a university professor dealing with transportation operations, management, economics and engineering, a senior manager in a freight rail transportation company, a consultant to freight railroad companies and an advisor to state DOTs and international railroad research networks. He has written on US national policy regarding freight transportation networks, models and the economic impacts of transportation investments. He recently completed an assignment on the Advisory Board of PROJECT NEAR2 – Network of European – Asian Rail Research capacities – a project funded by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme, Theme 7, Transport including Aeronautics. John Has his Ph.D. from Northwestern University, an MCP from The Ohio State University and a BS from Arizona State University.

Supported by Sandia National Labs and Haverland Carter Lifestyle Group