Associate (Harvard): Cha Cha Yang
Associate (CUHK): Dawn Wong
In the 21st century as Asia’s economies expand, the business world is changing at an exponential rate: the numbers on the stock board flicker forward and backward, regions establish policies to encourage economic collaboration, and companies implement changes to stay innovative and competitive. In such a fast-evolving and competitive environment, changes in Asia’s business landscape have highlighted the need for leaders to adapt existing industry and management practices in order to account for new technologies and the rise of emerging economies. In this panel, we examine the internal strengths, external opportunities, and external threats that factored into these successes and the important steps countries take to overcome economic setbacks with the goal of a more prosperous future.
1 – Strategically Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling
First coined by Jane Hyun, the “bamboo ceiling” refers to a variety of cultural and societal factors that obstruct Asians’ ascent up the corporate ladder within organizations and businesses. Despite the barriers and challenges Asians may face in assuming higher level executive positions in businesses, some of the top managerial positions in some of the world’s largest businesses are held by ethnically Asian men and women. This panel seeks to explore some of the variables that contributed to these leaders’ successes, the strategies they employed throughout their careers to rise to the top, and the lessons they learned in running and growing their businesses.
2 – Virtually Crossing Boundaries
From electronic fund transfers to automated data collection system, technology has revolutionized how business is conducted around the world. The growth rate of e-commerce companies is an astounding 20% every year worldwide and total sales from e-commerce platforms reached $1.5 trillion last year in Asia alone. To remain relevant and competitive, businesses are expected to follow in the lead of companies such as Alibaba and Rakuten in embracing technological changes. Technological advancements have helped numerous businesses integrate into the global market, overcoming physical barriers, and helped them offer novel out-of-the box services and products, overcoming antiquated boundaries and limitations. This panel aims to explore the innovative ways companies have used technology to expand its business, refine its public image, and strengthen its customer relationships.
3 – Importance of Integration
As the world becomes ever more interconnected, the importance of cooperation amongst nations becomes ever more pertinent. Efforts have been made by numerous Asian countries to encourage connectivity amongst neighboring countries with goals to propel economic growth, build lasting relationships, and promote cross-national collaboration. Two examples of such efforts include the One Belt, One Road Initiative (more specifically, the AIIB) and the ASEAN organization, both of which hold great promises of facilitated trade, financial integration, and market expansions for countries involved.
Associate (Harvard): Veronica Ma
Associate (CUHK): Joyce Chow
Asia is buzzing with more potential, interconnectivity, and ambition than ever before. With opportunities abound, the region has become the leading force for modern entrepreneurship and technology. This new age of entrepreneurship in Asia is defined by the energy of emerging innovation, which encompasses everything from disruptive startups to social innovations and cutting-edge technology, attracting the attention of global investors, inventors, and entrepreneurs. The boom of unprecedented growth raises questions concerning long-term sustainability, environmental impact, and social potential. As growth skyrockets forward, the eyes of the world watch on with anticipation.
1 – Going Global
Entrepreneurs in the twenty-first century innovate in a dynamic environment that is unlike anything the world of business has seen before. The recent wave of energetic entrepreneurs in Asia has allowed the region to emerge as the modern hotspot for successful startups. Simultaneously, the ability for entrepreneurs to create a global outreach is growing. What will be the role of globalization and interconnectivity in growing Asian start ups? How does the new-age entrepreneurship climate differ from that of a decade ago? How do entrepreneurs compete in limited markets?
2 – Social Entrepreneurship
Social issues pertinent to many regions of Asia have given rise to ambitious innovators. Social entrepreneurs use engagement and creativity in tackling a strikingly diverse range of issues. Often, the success of a social entrepreneurship is reliant on the ecosystem in which they operate. How does a country’s civil society and business environment contribute to the success of a social innovation? How can for-profit companies strike a balance between social responsibility and bottom-line business goals?
3 – The Future of Technology
The unprecedented rate at which innovative ideas become technological realities has led many to believe that technology is the next big growth engine. While tech companies in China, India, and South Korea dominate, emerging start ups from all over Asia hold strong promise for the future of technology. How will technological innovation sustain continued growth? How can young innovators learn from the success of the tech giants and incorporate new technological information into their own inventions and ideas?
Associate (Harvard): Kelsey Ichikawa
Associate (CUHK): Thomas Chu
Humans and the natural environment have mutually shaped each other for centuries. With the progression and aftermath of industrial revolutions around the world, the relationship between human society and its ecological entanglements has become increasingly strained. As a result of Asia’s rapid development in recent decades, Asian countries’ attitudes toward land use management, carbon use, and waste reduction are critical, particularly as the world comes to face the consequences of climate change. Conflicting forces between economic policy and sustainable development must be reconciled for the sake of the earth as well as public health. Clean and renewable forms of energy must grow and find their place in a global energy sphere that relies on fossil fuels. As governments and leaders make decisions regarding the increasingly limited resources available, how does the distribution of water, food, and energy play out on the stage of global justice? How will we prepare our disaster management strategies for the environmental challenges that confront us in the future?
1 – Economic Growth and Environmental Management
Economic expansion, especially urban development, often occurs at the expense of environmental systems. As countries pursue urban development and increasingly industrialized markets, far-reaching ecological damage ensues. Some problematic areas are the burning of fossil fuels, unregulated agricultural practices, mass transportation, and contaminants from factories. Impairment of natural resources, such as rivers and lakes, harms not only wildlife but also the ecosystem services that many stakeholder groups rely on. Environmental destruction can also have unprecedented negative effects on human health. Many developing countries in Asia, such as India and Bangladesh, face the challenge of balancing the demands of economic growth with these environmental concerns. How can countries and communities continue to advance standards of living while avoiding irreversible ecological detriment? How can we effectively enforce policies that simultaneously conserve natural habitats and protect wildlife?
2 – Renewable and Alternative Energy
Fossil fuels are exhaustible, and their consumption and collection contributes to the greenhouse effect, pollution, and ecosystem destruction. Scientists and engineers have developed many innovative ways to harness clean and renewable energy. However, there are many obstacles to implement these renewable technologies. What is being done to improve efficiency and cost of alternative energy devices? How should we address safety concerns, such as those regarding nuclear power plants? How can we integrate power generators, such as windmills and water turbines, into the landscape? And finally, what policies and everyday practices should be implemented to support the shift toward renewable energy resources?
3 – Resource Allocation: Access and Protection
In efforts to address climate change and environmental degradation, certain groups may receive unequal treatment. The fallouts of climate change, such as sea level rise and air pollution, do not affect all communities equally, and neither do mitigative policies. How can we implement policies and programs that benefit not just prominent regions or communities, but also marginalized groups of people, especially in developing countries? Providing equal access to amenities like clean water, healthy food sources, and green spaces is an important issue of environmental justice. Who should be responsible for resource distribution— do natural resources belong to the state or the people, and how much say should each have in allocation of those resources?
Associate (Harvard): Ashiley Lee
Associate (CUHK): Lokping Lai
The role of the state is in constant flux, and in order to address the ever-changing landscape of international diplomacy, states must adapt and cooperate to ensure their security. Through an examination of transitional governments, the role of outside actors in state and international affairs, and the role of religion in politics throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the Governance and Diplomacy track serves to expand knowledge on and evaluate the processes addressing complex transnational issues. Through the wide lens of governance and diplomacy, how does a sovereign state proceed to govern after times of crisis? What roles do non-state actors play in collective-action problems? And how do cultures impact the role of governance and the advancement of international cooperation and diplomacy?
1 – Transitional Justice
Transitional justice is not a ‘special’ kind of justice, but an approach to achieving justice in times of transition from conflict and/or state repression. By trying to achieve accountability and redressing victims, transitional justice provides recognition of the rights of victims, promotes civic trust and strengthens the democratic rule of law. Transitional justice consists of five effective strategies: 1) criminal prosecutions, 2) truth commissions, 3) reparation programs, 4) security sector reform, and 5) memorialization efforts. In order to rebuild social trust and the core value of justice within society, Asia-Pacific states throughout the years have pursued transitional justice through government action, such as Taiwan beginning in 1988 and current South Korea-Japan relations. Spreading throughout the Asia-Pacific region towards the newly democratizing countries of the Middle East, the prospects for transitional justice to bring stability to a disrupted country are heavily influenced by global factors. How do inner turmoil and outer pressures play a role in determining the success or failure of transitional justice?
2 – Rise of Non-State Actors
Over the years of rapid, widening globalization, power has diffused out from the states to non-state actors, specifically, any individual or organization that is not loyal to one particular state but holds significant political influence. The most well-known categories of such actors in the international sphere are non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multinational corporations (MNCs), ethnic and religious organizations, and violent non-state actors. As the diversity of actors in the field of diplomacy increases, it has brought about more efficient collaboration and has expanded the reach of global governance. Alternatively, certain non-state actors, such as ISIS, have garnered significant ideological influence within the realm of international relations and within governments themselves. How has the scope of global governance shifted through the surge of non-state actors and what impacts, positive or negative, does the diffusion of power give towards the stability of governance and diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region?
3 – Interfaith Dialogue
Religion and faith hold significance in their influence on individuals and all people, extending beyond geographic boundaries. With religion’s impact on both world leaders and world citizens, special considerations are in line with each country’s dominant doctrines. With varying beliefs and influence of faith, interfaith dialogue provides a platform for positive and constructive interactions between members of separate faiths. Especially in times of emphasized coverage of radical minorities and sectarianism, dialogue serves to promote understanding and respect, end religiously motivated violence, and create sustainable peace. In an increasingly connected world, what role does religion play in the interaction between diplomatic parties and how does understanding expand lasting international cooperation between state governments?
Associate (Harvard): Eugine Chung
Associate (CUHK): Bouki Kwok
Parallel to fast, but complex development over the recent years, Asian countries have also seen various and intricate influxes of humanitarian issues, ranging from refugee crises to the health-related consequences of environmental disasters. While Asia currently stands as an impressive region of innovation, movement, and growth, there still exists an urgent societal, national, and global call to action in finding effective ways to hear the voices of the underrepresented and to attend to the needs of all inhabitants. In our current interconnected, globalized stage, there are more creative means in raising awareness, inciting policy change, allocating needed resources, and so forth. Therefore, this track hopes to not only bring to light ongoing issues of the 21st century, but also to open new creative channels for all individuals from investigative journalists to activists and to policymakers. The ultimate role of the track is to serve as an enlightening dialogue space and incubator for sustainable ideas and discourse.
1 – Asia’s Refugee Crisis
With Asia’s increasingly booming influence in international affairs and global presence, its refugee problems remain pertinent for discussion and resolution. Conflict, especially in Southeast and West Asia, have been on-going for years, resulting in a flock of over 3.5 million refugees, mainly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. This panel discusses the complexity of the Asian refugee crisis, from hygiene conditions to human trafficking as well as contrasting reactions and treatments of local governments towards the refugees.
2 – Gender Equality
Though issues of gender inequality have been pervasive worldwide for centuries, our decade of rights has shed the light on such issues once again, bringing forth significant concerns in the past decade, especially in Asian countries. While there have been improvements on the treatment of women, gender-based human rights violations are still prevalent in Asia. Many women are still being discriminated in courts of underdeveloped countries. Additionally, with the illicit sex trade and growing rate of prostitution, gendered differences are especially crucial in discussing Asian humanitarian affairs. In developed countries, gender inequality plays a large role in day-to-day circumstances, such as in the workplace, classroom, and so forth. This panel thus discusses various government policies and laws in different countries in Asia and how to attain gender equality with the cohesive efforts of government and citizens. It will also bring to light various grassroots movements that have been making waves of change in this region.
3 – Transforming Global Health
As an aftermath of massive globalization, there has been a widespread outbreak of infectious diseases. Governments and global health organizations cooperate closely to fight against animal-to-human infections such as SARS, avian influenza, and other diseases particularly common in Asian countries. Additionally, as seen through recent disasters, such as the Nepal earthquake and the typhoon in the Philippines, weak infrastructure, inefficient mobilization of medical services and disaster relief call for more attention. This panel discusses the roles of global health organizations and local governments in information exchange and determining the best approach to fighting against these epidemics in the future. It will also delve into different ways developing countries in the Asian region can prepare themselves for disasters and allocate needed resources to citizens more efficiently and effectively.