Zagreb, Croatia

Date: 29.07.2021
Time: 18:00 CEST
Location: Historic city of Omišalj on the island of Krk, Croatia 

See here the announcement newsletter. For a written summary see the bottom.
DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER in order to stay in the loop


Event Program

Digital Silk Road meets People-to-People Connectivity & History









Doors Open





Dr. Philipe Reinisch Founder SILKROAD 4.0

Local co-host, Welcome

Prof. Kosjenka Dumančić Director Institute for Euro-Asian Studies (ZEI)Faculty of Economics & Business Zagreb
  1 Opening Keynote

Prof. Ante Simonić, M.D, Ph.D. 

Former Deputy Prime Minister, former Croatian Ambassador to China, Mongolia, and DPRK  Republic of Croatia
  2 Keynote: "Tourism: a catalyst for sustainable development, prosperity and peace along the historic routes" Patrick Fritz Technical Coordinator, Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department UN World Tourism Organization


Keynote: "Sport Diplomacy - how recreational or comparative sports impact people and cultures"

Dr. Rita Zhao Secretary-General Croatia-China Friendship Association


Keynote: "The Ancient Silk Road - connecting people and cultures"

Umut Özdemir  Expert Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism


"The Silk Road Cultural Belt - an artistic and musical perspective on the term New Silk Road"

Jan Moritz Onken Conductor, Artistic & Musical Director The Silk Road Symphony Orchestra

Discussion between the participants and / or Q&A from the audience

 all participants  –  –



Outlook and Farewell; End of virtual event; joint dinner on-site



Online and in Omišalj on the island of Krk/ Croatia, the delegation was welcomed by local co-host Kosjenka Dumančić on 29.7.2021. The Director of the Institute for Euro-Asian Studies at the University of Zagreb emphasized the importance of connectivity and the historical location.

High-class exclusive speakers for this event were: the former Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia and former Ambassador to China, Mongolia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), SE Prof. Ante Simonić, M.D, Ph. D, the Technical Coordinator for the Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department, UN World Tourism Organization, Patrick Fritz, the Secretary-General of the Croatian-Chinese Friendship Society Dr. Rita Zhao, the Silk Road expert Umut Özdemir from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Artistic & Musical Director of the "Silk Road Symphony Orchestra" Jan Moritz Onken.

HE Prof. Ante Simonić emphasized in his keynote that there is no global issue that can be solved without China. The challenges of the modern world can only be solved with cooperation - for this reason, it is essential to prevent and resolve conflicts and frictions between countries and companies.

Patrick Fritz fittingly described tourism as a peaceful catalyst for development along the traditional Silk Road. The pandemic has so far affected 1 billion travelers and 100-120 million jobs in the tourism sector - for this reason, containment of the pandemic is the main focus for connectivity of people and countries. UNWTO is helping to keep open channels of communication between all tourism stakeholders and enable rapid coordination. Regulated tourism is a perfect mechanism for the recovery of the global economy and also enables services in regions that would not be possible without tourism. However, tourism relies on safety and trust to thrive.  The vaccination campaigns are a sign of hope in this regard.

Dr. Rita Zhao emphasized the importance of sports diplomacy for cooperation and understanding between cultures. She showed that all people have the same goal, "even if languages and cultures are different." For this reason, the best attitude is to respect and accept the other despite or even because of all differences. Sport is a perfect vehicle for precisely these values, so the 2022 Winter Olympics send a hopeful signal.

Umut Özdemir, as a Silk Road expert, traced the connectivity routes of the historic Silk Road, especially in Southeast Europe and Anatolia towards Asia, and connected them with the current Silk Road Initiative. The Silk Road is still an important corridor for communication and exchange, and similar to the ancient Silk Road, the BRI's focus is on logistics and infrastructure: the biggest difference is nowadays an increased speed and simplified travels and communications, as well as the inclusion of countries in South America and the Indo-Pacific to the modern Silk Road.

The Artistic & Musical Director of the "Silk Road Symphony Orchestra" Jan Moritz Onken showed with an intervention the conception of the Silk Road Orchestra and invited the audience to contribute to the digital project their own meaning of silk and the Silk Road for the orchestra. The focus on open collaboration, responsibility, and open access to the Silk Road culture expresses that the Silk Road is a project for and by all people.




Prof. Kosjenka Dumančić

Vice dean for international cooperation and projects at Faculty of Economics & Business Zagreb; Director of the Institute for Euro-Asian Studies


Prof. Ante Simonić, M.D, Ph.D.

Former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia

Patrick Fritz

Technical Coordinator, Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department, UN World Tourism Organization


Dr. Rita Zhao

Secretary-General of Croatia-China Friendship Association


Umut Özdemir

Expert, Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism


Jan Moritz Onken

Conductor, Artistic & Musical Director, The Silk Road Symphony Orchestra


SPEAKERS - Moderators


Dr. Philipe Reinisch

Founder SILKROAD 4.0.
World Explorer. Expert on Emerging Tech & Large-Scale Project Mgmt.
Passionate about Learning.


See more

Prof. Dr. Donald Lewis

Univ. of San Francisco, ex-Stanford. Expert on China and international law.
Located in California, USA


See more

Dr. Harvey Dzodin

Commentator and columnist at CGTN, CRI. Former Director and VP ABC Television. Former Counsel to President Jimmy Carter.


See more