The Future of Asia Alumni Summit 2018

One day. Over 20 speakers. A lifetime of learning.

On Saturday March 3rd, 150 UNSW alumni and friends gathered at the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong to attend The Future of Asia – an alumni summit hosted by UNSW Sydney. The one-day conference gave alumni the opportunity to mingle with peers and leaders, and provided exclusive access to high impact research delivered by some of world’s foremost experts and thought leaders. 

An exciting program of panel sessions included representatives of UNSW Sydney, the community, local industry and government. Attendees were treated to speakers from Microsoft, Shui On Group, The Financial Times, Tus-Holdings, China Light and Power, Tsinghua University and many more who discussed some of the most topical issues for the Asia region. 

Economics, technology and the ageing century

Following welcoming remarks from UNSW executives and representatives, including Ms Michaela Browning, Australian Consul-General Hong Kong and Macau, the summit officially kicked off with an insightful presentation by UNSW graduate and Shui On Group Chair, Dr Vincent Lo. In his presentation, Dr Lo shared his thoughts and experiences on the impact of China's Belt and Road initiative.

Following this, alumni were split into two panel sessions, one being Technology and innovation – what is most needed in the 21st century, which focused on issues and opportunities around startup support, regulation and technology education. The second option, Asia in the ageing century, saw a number of population experts and researchers discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the region’s growing cohort of people aged 60 or older.

Zero carbon, food health and contemporary art

After an enjoyable networking lunch, attendees were once again engaged across two concurrent sessions, with one reviewing the zero carbon challenge and the unseen impacts of transitioning to renewable energy. This insightful session was facilitated by the ‘Sun King’ himself, Dr Zhengrong Shi, and a panel of energy experts.

Other alumni opted to attend a panel discussion led by UNSW Law Dean, Scientia Professor George Williams, which discussed the challenges and benefits of doing business in China in the context of de-globalisation, in particular in the areas of finance, trade and competition law. Last before afternoon tea, the Food and health in Asia session explored the growing western influence on Asian’s food and beverage trends, and asked whether this changing dietary standard represented a looming health epidemic or an exceptional opportunity. 

The final concurrent session saw a panel conversation on accessing contemporary art in and from China and its near neighbours. This discussion, facilitated by UNSW’s new Judith Neilson Professor of Contemporary Art, Professor Paul Gladston, shed light on contemporary Chinese and neighbouring Asian art through a focus on its varied significances from international and localised perspectives.

Discussing the future of Asia

The day’s presentations and discussions culminated with one final activity that brought together all attendees and featured a selection of panellists from earlier sessions. These select experts came together to contribute to global discussion and debate around the economic, political and social future of the Asian continent, facilitated by Mr Jamil Anderlini, Asia Editor for the Financial Times.

The summit concluded with a cocktail reception in the Conrad Grand Ballroom foyer, followed by a group dinner to bring delegates together after a thought-provoking day. This final banquet dinner was a wonderful opportunity to debrief from the day’s key learnings and reconnect with fellow alumni, industry, and friends. 


Photos from the event can be found here.  


Podcasts from the event