Business and the World Economy

Associate (Harvard): Cha Cha Yang
Associate (CUHK): Dawn Wong

Track Description:

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.

Panel Topics:

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.

Entrepreneurship and Technology

Associate (Harvard): Veronica Ma
Associate (CUHK): Joyce Chow

Track Description:

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.

Panel Topics:

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?

Environment and Sustainability

Associate (Harvard): Kelsey Ichikawa
Associate (CUHK): Thomas Chu

Track Description:

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?

Panel Topics:

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?

Governance and Diplomacy

Associate (Harvard): Ashiley Lee
Associate (CUHK): Lokping Lai

Track Description:

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?

Panel Topics:

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?

Humanitarian Affairs

Associate (Harvard): Eugine Chung
Associate (CUHK): Bouki Kwok

Track Description:

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.

Panel Topics:

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.


1. Practical Tips for Young Entrepreneurs: Getting a Headstart in Creating Successful Startups

Nick Chan

Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

Success often comes from failures.  Risk manage and learn from other people’s mistakes and obtain vital and practical tips to succeed as an entrepreneur and start-up.

2. Human Trafficking: How We Have Become Part of the Problem

Ms. Tina Chan

Project Manager of Stop Trafficking Of People

Judging by international news headlines, human trafficking, which is also known as modern day slavery, is a recent phenomenon. In fact, the coerced movement of people across borders is as old as the laws of supply and demand. But little is known about the issue of human trafficking around the world, much less on what the impact of this organized crime is to our daily life.

Due to the lack of reliable statistics for this area, the occurrence of human trafficking is constantly denied by governments around the world. But does it mean that it is not happening at all? A recent published report estimated that 45.8 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today. What is the true scenario of modern-day slavery around the world? And how have we all become part of the problem?

3. Leadership: A Lifelong Journey

Dr. Michael Chen

Former Executive Director of Harvard Business School Asia Pacific Research Centre

The speaker will cover leadership and managerial issues he experienced during a 40-year career spanning the public, private and educational sectors in a global context.  A glimpse of the potential future workplace will also be discussed.

4. Innovations in Urban Mobility in the 21st Century Asia

Ms. Dawn Chui

Former Chief Officer – Walk 21 Hong Kong, Civic Exchange

This is a discussion about the driving forces that lead growth as witnessed in the urban mobility sector in Asia. This interactive session hopes to use case studies seen in Asia to see how we resolve policy problems of urban mobility, and to streamline our thinking whether we should go more for lateral and vertical collaboration or through strong leadership.

5. Maternal Financial Socialization: A Model for Teaching Youth Financial Literacy and Responsibility

Mr. Edmond Lee

Child & Adolescent Financial Education Consultant

The study is to address the issue of the importance of adolescent financial adjustments – Financial adjustments refer to positively financially responsible attitude and how do the youth carry out this financial behavior in their life by examining the potential impact of Maternal Intentional Financial Socialization on Adolescent Financial Attitudes and Behaviours.

6. Words Matter: The Impact of Public Rhetoric on the Rights of Refugees

Ms. Zamira Monteiro

Public Engagement Coordinator, Justice Centre Hong Kong

Crisis. Swarm. Flood. You read about migrants and refugees in the media everyday, but do you pay attention to how we talk about them? This seminar will unpack terminology used in reference to migrants and refugees, and explore the impact that negative rhetoric has on policy making, public perception, and ultimately on the rights of refugees, looking at examples in Hong Kong and globally.  

7. Healthy, Smart Cities: Leveraging Technology and Big Data Innovation to Tackle Issues in Global Health

Ms. Peggy Tse

Director, Health Impact Fund

Inspired by a quote from UNICEF “problems go unmeasured often go unsolved”, the gaps in our healthcare systems were overlooked by many governments because there is too little data collected locally for health monitoring. In the session, Peggy explores the possibility of leveraging technology and big data innovation to tackle issues in global health.

8. Political Psychology Analysis: How the Personalities of Leaders Shape Foreign Policy

Prof. Seanon Wong

Assistant Professor of Government, Public Administration, CUHK

Do the personalities of leaders matter in the making of foreign policies? If yes, how do they influence the broader trajectory of events in international politics? In this seminar, we address these questions with a brief overview of the burgeoning literature in political psychology in international relations theory

9. The Bank as a Personality Based System to Increase Communication, Relationships, and Sales

Ms. Veronique Ficheux

Trainer, coach, and consultant

Have you ever wondered why some people always seem to know what to say to be understood? Or why opposite attract and opposite attack? The  B.A.N.K.™ reversed engineered personality based system will show you the secret, the science and the system to deliver the right presentation 100% of the time, by communicating in the right language.

10. Curiosity: A Way of Driving Your Career Forward

Mr. Bjorn Turmann

Author, speaker, filmmaker, and business storytelling strategist

Success is a word that we measure ourselves on. Your decisions and choices to succeed are inspired by something that we all individually possess: Curiosity. How can you use your limitless curiosity to drive your career and life success?

11. Speak to Change the World: What Makes an Effective Speaker?

Mr. Sean Lin & Ms. Yuki Wong

Presentation coach, workshop leader, and professional emcee | Champion public speaker and workshop trainer

You have been to speeches that inspired you to take an action. You have also been to ones that you doubted, did not buy or were even bored. What’s the difference and how you can transform yourself to be one that can cause actions?

12. Social Enterprises: An Innovative Way of Helping Children Experiencing HIV/AIDS

Mr. Chung To

Chinese AIDS Activist, Co-founder of the Chi Heng Foundation

Founder and Chairperson, Chi Heng Foundation, China

Using the 2 cases of social enterprises initiated and operated by Chi Heng Foundation, The Eco-Bags Factory and The Cafe Village 127 in Shanghai, the discussion focuses on how to make the idea of social enterprises practical, to persuade the big enterprise to invest on Non-Profit,and how to keep them sustainable.

13. The Creative Mind: Applying Creativity to Everyday Life

Dr. Christopher See

Doctor, lecturer and researcher at the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, HKU

People think of creativity as a mysterious quality that a lucky few possess: I do not. In this seminar, I will present systematic methods of ‘generating creativity’, demonstrating real-life applications in entrepreneurship, romance, education and health. It is innovation for the ordinary person.

14. Humanitarian Intervention in North Korea: Help or Conspiracy?

Mr. Steve Lok-Wai Chung

Assistant Lecturer, CUHK BSSc Programme in Global Studies

15. Health Equity and Social Justice

Ms. Karen Lau

Project Coordinator, Health in Action

What is the difference between health inequality and health inequity? In this interactive workshop, participants will embark upon a journey of visual data to ponder how health equity is ultimately linked to social justice.

16. What capabilities our younger generation need to develop to meet the future business challenge?

Mr. Barry Chan

Financial Services Sector, Global Business Services Hong Kong at IBM China/HK Ltd