Silk Road Conversations with Ovigwe Eguegu (Afripolitika )

Silk Road Interviews are inspired by Silk Road Week, an annual event conceived by Chinese Museums Association, International Association for the Study of Silk Road Textiles (IASSRT), and China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. The theme for #SilkRoadWeek 2020 is “The Silk Roads: Mutual Learning for Future Collaboration.” We thank IN ZHEJIANG, our media partner in China (on Facebook).

Name : Ovigwe Eguegu | Country : Nigeria | Website : Afripolitika | Years Active : 7 years

Gilt silver ewer of Iranian type found in a mid-6th century tomb in Ningxia province, collection Museum at Guyuan

Q – How do you describe your work to people who don’t know anything about your field? 

I tell them to think of it as what will happen if geography and political science had a baby.

Q – Why did you choose this particular field (of research)?

Understanding geopolitics is crucial to being able to make informed decisions on matters of security and development. Africa being a developing part of the world it is pertinent that its leaders have a sound understanding of geopolitical trends in world politics so that they can be able to position their countries in a way that is beneficial for development.

Q – Do you recall when was the first time you heard of the phrase “Silk Road”? What was your first impression of it?

It sounded like a beautiful and colourful road I would love to travel on. For some reason I imagined it to be a road made out of silk.

Q – What is your most memorable experience of travelling along the Silk Road?

I am yet to travel through the Silk Road.

Q – Which city or region along the Silk Road are you looking forward to visit, for the first time?

Xi’an in China, Samarkand in Uzbekistan, and Shahr-e Qumis in Damghan, Iran.

Q – What language(s) spoken along the Silk Road have you studied, or would wish to study?

I’m interested in studying Chinese. 

Q – What is the hardest part of your work that people don’t realize?

Being unbiased has got to be the most challenging aspect of being an international affairs professional.

Q – What is your dream (or even fantasy) research project?

To investigate how the Belt and Road Initiative is improving people-to-people exchanges between countries on the Southern route of the Silk Road.

Q – If it were possible, what historic figure would you like to meet? Why?

There are a some historic figures that stand out for me. Cyrus the Great, Mao Zedong, Imhotep and Chanakya. But if we’re talking about a figure I would like to meet, that would be Chanakya: a shrewd statesman and the advisor to Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya dynasty. His book Arthashastra is a gem, it addressed major aspects of statecraft.

Q – What movie best depicts a historic or aesthetic aspect of the Silk Road?

Dragon Blade (2015). It is a timely reminder of how the East and West can meet each other halfway, find ways to cooperate and overcome great challenges. And that the potential of cooperation is far more than conflict. There’s this believe that during Cold War or conventional war, conflicting parties are compelled to innovate and that this is good for technological advancements. However Dragon Blade shows that with cooperation and knowledge sharing, almost anything can be achieved.

Andy Warhol, Mao Tse Tung, Silver, c. 1972 (courtesy Online Gallery)

Q – What music or soundtrack most embodies the sound of the Silk Road for you?

The song is titled ‘Tian Yao Zhong Hua’ (天耀中华) for me it captures the spirit of the Silk Road.  

Q – What fundamental change(s) in your work do you anticipate in the post-pandemic world?

There’s a lot of anxiety over the fate of globalisation, I think going forward, the changes to the global supply chain triggered by the COVID19 pandemic and the US-China trade war will be the most important change.