September 05, 2018

Nobel Peace Laureate José Ramos-Horta hosted by Bright Hong Kong to launch ¨Words of Hope¨

Invited by Germán Muñoz, Founder and Director of Bright Hong Kong, Mr. José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1996) visited Hong Kong on September 6 and 7. He had an intense agenda of activities.

 

The program started the 6th with the breakfast offered by Bright Hong Kong, followed by the ceremony to present the book ¨Words of Hope in Troubled Times¨ and two lectures that brought together -the 7 of September-, more than 500 students of all grades, as well as staff from the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. There was also a Chatham House rule dialogue with postgraduate students at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.

 

Those activities were followed by an emotional encounter with a group of refugees who are literally in limbo, trapped in Hong Kong, and without hope of going to a third country.

 

Ramos-Horta gave some interviews, one of them published in the weekly edition of the South China Morning Post by Raquel Carvalho.

 

José Ramos-Horta is Member at the High-Level Board on Mediation, established by the UN Secretary-General (2017-2019) and External Advisor to the President of the UN General Assembly, 2017-2018; also Commissioner at the Global Commission on Drug Policy, Geneva). In 1996, along with his fellow countryman, Bishop Ximenes Belo, Ramos-Horta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Largely through Ramos-Horta’s efforts, in 2002 Timor-Leste did ultimately win its independence, and in 2006 he was appointed the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste and then elected its President in 2007.

 

Ramos-Horta is a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an organization which works to support democratic leadership, prevent and resolve conflict through mediation and promotes good governance in the form of democratic institutions, open markets, human rights and the rule of law. It does so by making available, discreetly and in confidence, the experience of former leaders to today’s national leaders. 

 

 

 

May 30, 2018

Rethinking Hong Kong´s relations with Mainland China

Christine Loh, Chief Development Strategist and Adjunct Professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's Institute of Environment and Division of Environment and Sustainability, recently spoke to Bright Hong Kong about the role of Hong Kong in the national context of an emerging China as world power and the growing importance of a dialogue with Beijing to design a shared future from the perspective of mutual interest.

Ms Loh is well qualified to speak to these issues, having been a legislator in pre- and post-colonial Hong Kong, before starting Hong Kong’s first independent think tank and then joining the government as the Under Secretary for the Environment (2012-17).

Ms. Loh is also an accomplished author and her bibliography includes ¨Underground Front. The Communist Chinese Party in Hong Kong¨, published in 2010. The second edition of this book will be soon in circulation with updated content.

 

Her presentation, ¨Rethinking Hong Kong's relations with Mainland China¨, included her analysis of the role of Hong Kong in China, its projection into the international arena and the tenacious regional economic competition that could become a serious challenge.

Ms Loh also analysed the contradictions that exist in Hong Kong. One of those contradictions lies in the economic inequality in what has been called the world’s freest economy. ¨Some sectors of society in Hong Kong,¨said Christine Loh, ¨are lagging behind and that can create a certain degree of concern.¨ She also stressed the urgent need to rethink the Hong Kong’s role in the national context. If it fails at this task, it could well be left out of the opportunities presented by an increasingly vibrant China with ambitious plans to make its presence felt in the world.

The event was attended by Ambassador Carmen Cano, Head of the European Union in Hong Kong and Macau, and Damián Martínez Tagueña, Consul General of Mexico.

May 01, 2018

Reinventing the European Democracy and Leadership

Within a few days of celebrating the Europe Day, Bright Hong Kong hosted Alexander Krigjer, Vice-chair of the Atlantic Commission in The Netherlands, with whom ¨Reinventing the European Democracy and Leadership¨ was discussed.

 

Alex Krigjer, experienced geo-strategist, who has actively worked on complicated issues and projects in Europe, North America, MENA, Russia, Sub Saharan Africa and Asia was emphatic when he said that European democracy is going through a period that requires adjustments to continue in force as a functional political model.

 

The speaker emphasized what he said, is the most important challenge: unify the European democracies. He stressed that instead of ¨America first¨, Europe should focus on the democratic Europe, should strengthen its principles of unity, tolerance, regional collaboration and inclusion.

 

Author of 4 books, the last on the role of John F. Kennedy (¨JFK: Idealist zonder illusies¨ title in Dutch) as one of the leaders of the Western world in a period of serious uncertainty in the middle of the Cold War, Krigjer said that for Europe to reinvigorate its democratic institutions it also requires build new leaderships.

 

In that context he mentioned the arrival of Emmanuel Macron to the Presidency of France encourages the hope of having a leader with a reforming mentality and the energy to lead a renewal movement, although his political capital may not be enough until now to fill the need for that new leadership required by the European Union.

 

Mr. Krigjer contrasted the figure of President John F. Kennedy who had the profile to lead some aspirations of the United States and the Western world through a dangerous period and great challenges. He had to face the crisis of the postwar period with Germany divided by the wall, the totalitarian threat to Western Europe and the dangerous game of force with the USSR in the missile crisis in Cuba.

 

Alexander Krigjer and the other participants coincided in describing the set of nationalist ideas that pretend to prevail the unilateral interest of a single nation as an anachronism. There was agreement to emphasize that these nationalisms are a destructive force that must be confronted with democratic arguments. Europe has a unifying and reforming task ahead to update its role of democratic leadership in the world. On that depends its permanence.

Participants

Prof. Kathleen Ferrier, Co-Founder and Honorary Professor Human Rights at the Asian University for Women, Gender and Politics at HKBU; Dr. Peter Hefele, Head of the Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia at the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation; Rev. Tjeerd de Boer, Faculty Member at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong; Rogier Heeking, Deputy Consul General of the Netherlands; Dr. Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Professor and Head of the Department of Government and International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University; Dr. Margaret Chu who is Doctor in Philosophy for Oxford and an Expert in History of Chinese Philosophy. She is also Fellow and Council Member of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Hong Kong; Prof. Werner Hess, Deputy Director of the European Union Academic Programme; Mauricio Lozano, Wealth Management expert and Mrs. Krigjer accompanying her father. The host was Germán Muñoz, Founder and Director at Bright Hong Kong.

April 15, 2018

Andrew Browne on ¨The U.S. and China: The End of the Affair...With due respect to Graham Greene…..¨

Bright Hong Kong hosted a fascinating breakfast meeting on Monday April 16th, with award winning journalist Andrew Browne as the speaker. The title of Andrew’s riveting presentation on the present Sino-American relationship was:

 

 ¨The US and China: The End of the Affair… With due respect to Graham Greene…..¨

 

Andrew Browne enjoys the prestige of a great journalistic career. Among his colleagues he has the reputation of being the one who best knows China and its complex reality. He been a journalist in Asia for the past 35 years and spent 20 years at Reuters News Agency, ending up as Asia-Pacific editor, before moving to The Wall Street Journal where he became China Editor and wrote a popular column called China’s World. He is currently the Editorial Director of The New Economy Forum, a Bloomberg conference to be held in Beijing. Andy shared a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2007 and also won an Overseas Press Club Award for Business Reporting.

 

During his presentation, Andy Browne emphasized the fact that historically China and the United States have held each other in very high regard, and even today the Chinese leadership sends its children to study in the United States, (even including Xi Jinping’s daughter). But the relationship has changed, and this is not something related to President Trump, (despite his advisors anti-China rhetoric) but started in 2008 when the financial crisis showed China that the Western system was fallible, and the crisis ¨totally discredited Milton Friedman¨. 

 

The ensuing Chinese self confidence changed the dynamics completely, together with the ¨end of globalisation¨, which was another result of the financial crisis. China’s rediscovered national pride, and the search for a greater world role has led to the Belt & Road Initiative, ¨the only grand strategy in the world today¨. 

 

According to the speaker, the United States risks misunderstanding China, as evidenced by the recent pronouncements from Washington regarding the proposed trade tariffs: ¨China will not give ground¨. Instead of a so-called clash of civilizations, what the world will now experience is rather a ¨Competition Between Systems¨.

 

All in all it was an excellent presentation, attended by Ambassador Dieter Lamlé, Consul General of Germany in Hong Kong and Macau; Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong and host of the event; Brigadier Christopher Hammerbeck CB.CBE., who is President at The Royal British Legion Hong Kong & China Branch and the former Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of British Forces in Hong Kong; Dr. Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General at Association of Pacific Rim Universities APRU; Daniël de Blocq Van Scheltinga, member of the executive committee of the European Chamber of Commerce; associate of Silk Road Associates and board member at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce; Jolita Pons, Head of Political, Press and Information affairs, EU office to Hong Kong and Macau; Kathleen Ferrier, Honorary Professor Human Rights at Asian University for Women and former member of the Dutch Parlament; Renu Bhatia, Founding partner and Managing Director of SuperCharger, a dedicated Fintech accelerator in Hong Kong; Sari Arho, Consul for Innovation of the Consulate General of Finland in Hong Kong and Macau; Sanjukta Mukherjee, PWc Tought Leadership; Mauricio Lozano, Professional Wealth Management, and Dr. Stratos Pourzitakis, Asian Private Banker.

March 28, 2018

The 29th of March, Bright Hong Kong hosted Charlene Chu for the first time she has spoken publicly about her work, ¨Song of Praise for a Flower: One Woman's Journey through China's Tumultuous 20th Century¨. This book is largely the transcription of the vivid memories of Fengxian Chu who at 94 years of age, leaves behind the testimony of her life extraordinarily well narrated with the help of Charlene, her North-American cousin.

This is a journey to discover family secrets led to the uncovering of a hidden manuscript from the parts of China most blighted by the Communist regime; the hidden villages that bore the brunt of Japanese occupation and the movements like the Great Leap Forward

Charlene worked as a Senior Director at Fitch Ratings in Beijing. It was during her time in Beijing that Charlene embarked on a fascinating journey to find her father´s side of the family. It would have been 114 years old today if he were still alive.

After many months of dead ends, Charlene managed to track down the farm where her father grew up in a remote village in Hunan Province. The family that is still living there was in contact with an elderly female cousin named Fengxian, who lives in Shenzhen. ¨Song of Praise for a Flower¨, is Fengxian's life story.

¨Song of Praise for a Flower¨ is a work of love and also a reflection on the women condition to the gale of history from the dark years of World War II and China's civil war to the tragic Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and more.

Anyone who wants to delve into the history of China of 20th Century through the naive, but sharp-witted look of one of its protagonists, needs to read this work that reflects the true dimension of those times. Part of the biographical document, is also a worthy literary exercise of great simplicity and beauty. Dramatic, but also with naive tones of humor and a delicate perspective of the facts, these memories are a precious testimonial source at first hand. Its reading is a powerful vehicle of consciousness to better understand China's transformation in the last 100 years.

 

This true story has been released and Ms Chu has spoken at Bright Hong Kong about the author of the original manuscript and the story of torture and triumph of Fengxian, a woman defying cultural and political norms to survive China’s tumultuous 20th Century.

Participants:

The event gathered the Hon. Anson Chan, Chief Secretary in both the British colonial government of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government under the Chinese sovereignty; Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong and host of the event; Kathleen Ferrier, Honorary Professor Human Rights at Asian University for Women. Ambassador, The Mekong Club and former member of the Dutch Parlament; Andrew Work, Editor Harbour Times and Head Content Strategist, Asia Pacific - NexChange; Christopher Drake, Chairman at the Asia-Pacific Network for Moral Education and Chairman of the Oxford University China Advisory Group and a Distinguished Friend of Oxford; Sanjukta Mukherjee, PWc Tought Leadership, she is economist and has worked for mult ilateral institutions such as the International Labor Organization and the International Finance Corporation on diverse topics such as poverty reduction, child labor, income inequality, gender inequality,investment climate of emerging economies and energy affordability; Alicia García-Herrero, Chief Economist at NATIXIS, Senior Research Fellow at the European think-tank BRUEGEL, non-resident fellow at Cornell’s emerging market research centre and Senior Research Fellow at El Cano Royal Institute for International Relations; Tjeerd de Boer, Theologist and professor at the Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong; Devi Novianti, Equal Opportunities Commission Ethnic Minorities Unit in Hong Kong Government; Tarek Meguid, he is a thinker who has developed ground breaking policies regarding the close relation between Human Rights and access to quality health care for all, for which he has received various honors and awards; YIP Manwa, Associate, Daly & Associates. This firm is specialized areas of Administrative Law, Immigration Law, Refugee Law, Human Rights Law, International Public Law and Family Law; Mauricio Lozano, Professional Wealth Management; Naomi Sedney, is an INSEAD alumnus and specialist on diversity and inclusion management and policies.

 

February 26, 2018

A few days after receiving the Prize for Innovative Philantrophy 2018 awarded by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Tocqueville Foundation, Douglas Woodring, founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance, attended the breakfast organized by Bright Hong Kong on February 27, to discuss about the enormous challenges represented by the proliferation of plastic waste  in the seas of the entire world.

During the meeting with Bright Hong Kong, Doug Woodring highlighted the devastating impact of humans on the world’s seas. The spotlight is on the scale of destruction caused by excessive use of plastics that reaches the category of a serious goobal threat. 

 

The numbers are very clear: It is now believed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea. Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year.  If we consider that we are disposing a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth, we are in conditions to imagine the real dimension of the problem that affect everyone.  The consequences included all the marine life. A plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate. An animal that dies from the bag will decompose and the bag will be released and another animal could harmlessly fall a fatal victim.

Other numbers are referred to the abuse on plastic bottles. It is estimated that there are 50 billion water bottles consumed every year, about 30 billion of them in the US (which means the US consume roughly 60 percent of the world’s water bottles, even though we’re about 4.5 percent of the world population).

Plastics in general, liberate toxic chemicals such as bisphenol, diethylhexyl phthalate (which is a toxic carcinogen), as well as lead, cadmium, and mercury. Polystyrene pieces and nurdles are the most common types of plastic pollution in oceans, and combined with plastic bags and food containers make up the majority of oceanic debris.

Doug Woodring received the award -is a global initiative jointly developed by The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and The Tocqueville- for his years of dedication, focus and persistence on reducing plastic pollution, and by doing so with creative, scalable programs that can be replicated across borders. It is one of the first NGOs to work with both the UN Environment (UNEP) and the World Bank on their respective programs aimed at reducing plastic pollution. He leads the Ocean Recovery Alliance and several projects such as the Plasticity Forum, that takes place in different cities around the world; Kids Ocean Day, this is a reminder from the students to protect the health of our ocean.  This event includes presentations to Hong Kong schools;  the report "Valuing Plastic - the Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry", in coordination with the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP), Trucost and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the world-first report at the U.N. Environmental Assembly; the app Global Ocean Alert, to report critical spots of plastic pollution.

Participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder and Director of Bright Hong Kong; Eric Berti, Consul General of France; Doug Woodring, Director at the Ocean Recovery Alliance; Ivan Tse, President, TSE Foundation and Director of Global Friends; Jacinta Reddan, CEO at the Australian Chamber of Commerce; ; Simon Mak, CEO at Ascent Partners; Lesley Hobbs, CEO at Cognatio Law; Dr. Sari Arho Havrén, Consul for Innovation at the Consulate General of Finland; Christopher Drake, Chairman at the Association for Living Values; Sanjukta Mukherjee, Head PwC’s Thought Leadership in China; Alicia García-Herrero, Chief Economist NATIXIS; Daniël de Blocq, partner at Polarwide and Mauricio Lozano.

December 06, 2017

In another brilliant Bright Hong Kong session professor Rana Mitter connected China’s recent history to its actual emergence as a world power -not only economically- but also politically and morally.

 

Prof. Mitter connected two remarkable events in recent history and near future to the changing narrative of China’s actual positioning in global and regional geopolitics.

 

The first one is related to the ¨Victory Parade¨ that took place in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, on September 3, 2015, in Beijing. 

 

At this impressive event, there was the appearance of a group of veterans of war, from both: the communist and nationalist armies, and also from the USA. According to Prof. Mitter, this is the biggest demonstration of the importance of events that happened more than 70 years ago. ¨We should understand that the World War in Asia cost China more than 14 million of its soldiers and civilians. Not just that: nearly 100 million Chinese became refugees in their own country during those years.¨ 

 

According to Prof. Mitter the most important output of those painful events is the current government's willingness to build its own narrative asserting the Chinese vision of the future in the face of the decline of the moral leadership of the United States. ¨This is the first occasion where the narrative of World War II -you might say China’s good war- has really been integrated into the national story of China¨, Prof. Mitter said.

 

The positive moral Chinese narrative is based on its history of resistance by nationalist and communist forces against the Japan occupation. Of geopolitical importance is the 1943 Cairo Conference, where Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek 蔣中正 and his wife Soong Mei- ling 宋美齡 (Life magazine called her the ¨most powerful woman in the world.¨) was the only non-Western leader present, and where detailed decisions on the map of post-war Asia were taken.  The Cairo Conference serves today as the basic legitimation of China’s right on the disputed islands in the North and South China Sea. 

 

¨China -Prof. Mitter said- beliefs very strongly on its own territorial sovereignty and this is partly due to its own history.  Between the XIX and XX Centuries western powers but also the Japanese invaded Chinese territory and that is meant that they are exceptionally keen to make sure that no repetition of that kind of events happens again. Certainly, that filters very much their views and policies for the early 20th-century ¨.

 

By now stressing its leading role in World War II and its central geopolitical place in the East and South Asia region, China shows, nationally and internationally, how serious it is in aspiring to become a world leader and how its history defines its present steps into a new era.  

 

The second meaningful event will be taking place the coming 13th of December where president Xi Jinping will be speaking at the 80th commemoration of the Nanking Massacre. 

Besides the horrors of the Nanjing Massacre and the terror bombing of Chongqing, Prof. Mitter also emphasized the heroic and determined resistance. Factories, universities, schools, newspapers, and refugees moved to the interior to build up ¨Free China¨ in conditions of extreme austerity. The dismantling of industrial plants in the Shanghai area before the Japanese advance and their evacuation nearly 1,500km up the Yangtze to Chongqing was a triumph of human endeavor. For four years before the US entered the war, with very little international assistance, Chinese armies stood alone against the might of the Japanese empire. Later, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought about the internationalization of the conflict, Japanese troops defeated colonial armies in Singapore, Malaya, Hong Kong, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines. Yet Chinese resistance did not collapse and the Chinese theatre of war played an important role by tying down large numbers of Japanese troops. In Chiang Kai-shek's Free China and in the areas controlled by the communist party, people had to endure bombing, terrible food shortages and low standards of living, yet they rallied to the national cause.

 

Prof. Rana Mitter´s Profile

Professor Mitter is Director of the University of Oxford China Centre. He is also a professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the Department of Politics and International Relations of the same institution. 

 

Prof. Mitter is the author of several books, including ¨Modern China: A Very Short Introduction¨ (2008, new ed. 2016), and the award-winning ¨A Bitter Revolution: China’s Struggle with the Modern World.¨  

 

His most recent book ¨China’s War with Japan, 1937-45: The Struggle for Survival¨ (US title: ¨Forgotten Ally¨) was named as a 2013 Book of the Year in the Financial Times and The Economist. It was also named a 2014 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title and won the 2014 RUSI/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature.

 

Participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong; Amb. Carmen Cano, Head of the European Union in Hong Kong & Macau; Christopher Drake, Chairman of the University of Oxford China Advisory Group; Damián Martínez Tagüeña, Consul General of Mexico; Paul Tang Kwok-wai 鄧國威, Secretary for the Civil Service July 2012-July 2015;  Andrew So Kwok-wing 蘇國榮, former Commissioner for Administrative Complaints, the ombudsman of Hong KongPola Antebi, International Director of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Christie’s; Kathleen Ferrier, Honorary Professor Human Rights at the Asian University for Women, Gender and Politics at HKBU. Ambassador at the Mekong Club; Daniël de Blocq Van Scheltinga, China & Asia Pacific Strategy Advisor and Investment Banker; Rev. Tjeerd de Boer, Faculty Member at Lutheran Theological Seminary; Sanjukta Mukherjee, Head of Thought Leadership at PwC Hong Kong and mainland China; Renu Bhatia, FinnTech Specialist & Economic Justice for Women Advocate; Deborah Biber, CEO Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC); Alicia García-Herrero, Chief Economist for Asia Pacific at NATIXIS; Adrián Valenzuela, Co-CEO and Founding Partner at MCM Partners; and Peter Guy, Senior writer at the South China Morning Post.

 

November 12, 2017

A Dialogue with Boris Dittrich, LGBT Head Human Rights Watch

Bright Hong Kong host a dialogue with Boris Dittrich, Head of LGBT Rights at Human Rights Watch. In his carrer as a legislator in the Netherlands, Mr. Dittrich initiated the same sex marriage and adoption bills, making the Netherlands the first country in the world to open its civil marriage for gays and lesbians. 

Mr. Dittrich presented the 52-page report, ¨Have You Considered Your Parents' Happiness?': Conversion Therapy Against LGBT People in China,¨ based on interviews with 17 people who endured conversion therapy and describe how parents threatened, coerced, and sometimes physically forced their adult and adolescent children to submit to conversion therapy.

According to Mr. Dittrich, the report that just started circulating on November 14, reveals that public hospitals and private clinics, medical professionals subjected the “patients” to “therapy” that in some cases entailed involuntary confinement, forcible medication, and electroshocks, which can constitute a form of torture.

Mr. Dittrich points out that Chinese authorities have not taken proactive measures to stop healthcare facilities or practitioners from offering conversion therapy, that in the end represents an aggression against the human dignity of the victims of these treatments.

In this session sponsored by Bright Hong Kong, Dennis Phillipse, who is the founder of the local LGBT group ¨Out¨ and Head of the Gay Games in Hong Kong 2022, also attended. He said that beyond the economic benefits associated with a winning bid, each installment of the games is a concentrated effect on human rights and diveristy, not just in Hong Kong but in the entire region.

 

The meeting was also attended by Amb. Annemieke Rugrok, Consul General of the Netherlands; Germán Muñoz, Director of Bright Hong Kong; Prof. John P. Burns form Hong Kong University; Kathleen Ferrier, Honorary Professor Human Rights at the Asian University for Women, Gender and Politics @HKBU; Daniel de Blocq, member of the executive committee of the European Chamber of Commerce; Prof. H Werner Hess, Deputy Director EAP, Department of Government and International Studies at HKBU; Renu Bhatia, FinnTech Specialist and also a Justice for Women Advocate; Sanjukta Mukherjee, Head of PwC’s Thought Leadership team for HK; Michael Lin, partner at Marks & Clerk, and Gulnar Vaswani, Director, Your Best Forward Intl.

Boris Dittrich meets regularly with victims of homophobia and trans-phobia, and with government officials, members of parliament, and journalists in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe to push for progress on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

 

Among his notable achievements: the co-launching the landmark Yogyakarta Principles at the United Nations; his constant support to get 67 nations to agree to combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

 

Boris is also a key factor in persuading former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to publicly condemn homophobia for the first time and convincing the Vatican to make a formal UN statement in favor of decriminalizing homosexual conduct and respecting the human rights of homosexual people. 

 

Before coming to Human Rights Watch in 2007, Boris was a member of the Dutch Parliament for more than 12 years. He initiated the same sex marriage and adoption bills, making the Netherlands the first country in the world to open its civil marriage for gays and lesbians. 

 

Boris was also elected to parliament and he was a judge at the regional court of Alkmaar and a lawyer in Amsterdam. He is author of three novels and two non-fiction works in Dutch, one on LGBT rights. His book W.O.L.F. was chosen as best Dutch thriller of 2016.

October 26, 2017

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China

Bright Hong Kong, hosted a meeting to discuss the outcome and the implications of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The presenter was the renown China expert Prof. Jean-Pierre Cabestan.

 

Jean-Pierre Cabestan is professor and Head of the Department of Government and International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. He is also associate researcher at the Asia Centre, Paris and at the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China in Hong Kong. 

His written work includes titles such as "China's Institutional Changes in the Foreign and Security Policy Realm Under Xi Jinping: Power Concentration vs. Fragmentation Without Institutionalization". This work dates from May 2017. Other titles that arouse enormous interest are: “China's foreign and security policies. Between integration and will to power”, or “The Chinese political system. A New Authoritarian Equilibrium.”

Among the distinguished guests were the Hon. Mrs Anson Chan, former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, the new Consul General of Germany Dieter Lamlé, and the Representative of the Holy See Mission in Hong Kong, Msgr. Javier Herrera Corona.

The presentation revealed the far reaching fundamental changes that had been implemented. China was clearly now confident enough to make its goals even more ambitious: to become a “moderately prosperous society” by 2035, and a “developed country” by 2050. These goals had been made possible due to the consolidation and centralisation of power that had taken place. President Xi Jinping was not only a “core” president, but had achieved what only Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping had accomplished in the past, by enshrining his name in the Constitution along with his new doctrine. The background of the various new members of the ultimate ruling body, the Standing Committee of the Politburo, were explained leading to the discussion regarding the possible future consequences of the new power base and china’s “New Era”.  

 

While the successful power consolidation might have positive consequences with regard to much needed economic reform, notably of the State-Owned Enterprises, and the tackling of the shadow banking system and local debt levels, the reducing of a certain level of check and balances would possibly be negative. This, along with the signs of a personality cult, could in fact lead to a possible future political backlash. The revisions in the Constitution also clearly indicated a more profound, far reaching role of the Party in Chinese society. 

 

As for the impact of these changes for Hong Kong, while One Country Two Systems remained intact, a more powerful, self-assured Beijing would likely be less flexible and more dominant vis-à-vis the Hong Kong relationship.

Participants:

In addition to the aforementioned personalities, Kathleen Ferrier, former member of the Dutch Parlament; Daniel de Blocq, member of the executive committee of the European Chamber of Commerce; Rev. Tjeerd de Boer, Associate Professor, in the area of Mission, Religion and Culture, at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong; Dr. Sari Arho, Head of Team Finland, innovation and strategic foresight network in China and Asia Pacific under TEKES, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation; Christopher Drake, Chairman of the University's China Advisory Group and a Distinguished Friend of Oxford; Renu Bathia, founding partner and Managing Director of SuperCharger, a dedicated Fintech accelerator in Hong Kong; Sanjukta Mukherjee, Head of PwC's Thought Leadership team for HK and China; John Hoffman, Principal of the Exceptional Resources Group (XRG), to China-based strategy and transaction to the consulting firm, and Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong.

September 27, 2017

How Capitalism Can Cope With Its Crisis? How our values & behavior shapes the Economy & Politics

Prof. Alicia Garcia-Herrero who stands out as one of the most influential international economists, shared her vision on a topic of extraordinary interest: "How Capitalism Can Cope With Its Crisis¨. The discussion also involved wide considerations on ¨How our Values & Behavior shapes Economy and Politics¨.

Some of the conclusions could include the idea that the economic models have to recognize the limitations of reductive reasoning. It is time for the discipline to think critically about the beliefs that underlie the structure of models and how it can be augmented by taking into account the technology enabled transformations, megatrends, innovations, leveraging of big data and analytics that are disrupting the global economic landscape and society. Embracing the realities and coming up with alternative models that can explain economic phenomena, mitigate riks, and predict outcomes accurately will be the test.

Another approach is from the human prospective and that could be a contribution of the Chinese civilization and mindset. If we think that the meaning of the Chinese word for ¨Economy¨ is  Jīng shì jì mīn  (Operating the world to feed the people), many things could change.

Prof. García-Herrero is Chief Economist for Asia Pacific at NATIXIS. Also serves as Senior Research Fellow at the European think-tank BRUEGEL. She is faculty at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Senior Research Fellow at Elcano Royal Institute for International Relations.  Prof. García-Herrero is faculty at the China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS). 

In previous years, she held the following positions: Chief Economist for Emerging Markets at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Member of the Asian Research Program at the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), Head of the International Economy Division of the Bank of Spain, Member of the Counsel to the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, Head of Emerging Economies at the Research Department at Banco Santander and Economist at the International Monetary Fund. Alicia also holds a PhD in Economics from George Washington University and has published extensively in refereed journals and books. Her opinions are very oftenly aired by the most important news and television networks.

Participants:

Amb. Carmen Cano, Head of the Office of the European Union in HK and Macau; Germán Muñoz Díaz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong; Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Professor Emeritus on International Political Economy at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). He is also Founder of The Evian Group. EG provides multiple forums for dialogue, thought-leadership, cross-fertilisation and trust building on crucial issues related to globalisation and global governance. 

 

Also attended the session Dr. H. Werner Hess, Deputy Director, Europe-Asia Policy Centre for Comparative Research at Hong Kong Baptist University;  Dr. Kathleen Ferrier, Former member of the Dutch Parlament, Bright Hong Kong co-founder and tireless promoter of Human Rights; Andrew Work, Co-Founder of the Lion Rock Institute and Harbour Times; Simon Mak, CEO of Ascent Partners Group Limited; Sanjukta Mukherjee, Head of PwC’s Thought Leadership team for HK and China based in Hong Kong. She is also an economist and has worked for multilateral institutions on diverse topics such as poverty reduction, child labor, income inequality, gender inequality, investment climate of emerging economies and energy affordability; and Maria Tsolaki, Financial Forensics Investigator. Ministry of Finance, Hellenic Republic.

Knowing about the inminent departure of Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff, Consul General of Germany in Hong Kong and Macao, Bright Hong Kong hosted a dialogue leaded by him on ¨Human Dignity:  a Concept of Enlightment and Inalienable Rights¨. The event that took place the 28th of June was the farewell of the distinguished diplomat.

Mr. Graf Lambsdorff, -recently appointed German Ambassador to Malaysia-, enjoys of great appreciation in Hong Kong. During his tenure of 4 years, he raised the discussion of subjects related to the democratic conditions in Hong Kong and vocalized the need to preserve certain values that humanize the society.

The main focus of his presentation to Bright Hong Kong was made on the main features of the Europan legal system that shapes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and also, on the application of the Human Dignity concept under the German Constitutional Law.

Human Dignity is indeed the cornerstone of the German Constitution that it reads in its Article 1, paragraph 1: ¨Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.¨ Human Dignity is thus mentioned even before the Right to Life.

The diplomatic career of Ambassador Graf Lambsdorf includes a number of important posts including the following: Senior Political Adviser to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Kosovo; Special Representative and Head of the European Union Pillar of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK); Head of Division for Public Diplomacy in Europe, North America, Former Soviet Union at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin; Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova; Ambassador, Special Envoy for Southeast Europe, Turkey and the EFTA-States between 2010-2013, and Consul General in Hong Kong and Macao since July 2013 until June 2017.

 

Participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong; Dr. Jolita Pons, Head of Political, Press and Information at the European Union Office to HK and Macao; Fern Ngai, CEO at Community Business; Paul Zimmerman, District Councillor at Southern District Council: Rev. Kim-Kwong Chan, former Executive Secretary at Hong Kong Christian Council; Prof. Werner Hess, Deputy Director of the European Union Academic Programme in Hong Kong; Andrew Work, Head Content Strategist, Asia Pacific - NexChange; Rev. Tjeerd de Boer, Faculty Member at Lutheran Theological Seminary; Prof. David Bevan, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong; Deborah Biber, CEO at the Pacific Basin Economic Council; Sanjukta Mukherjee, Head of Thought Leadership at PwC Hong Kong and mainland China; Servane Gandais, Director for International Relations at the French Consulate General.

May 30, 2017

Populism & Nationalism: Democracy on the Brink

Ambassador Claudia Reinprecht, recently appointed Permanent Representative of Austria in Paris to UNESCO, met with Bright Hong Kong to make a presentation on ¨Populism & Nationalism: Democracy on the Brink¨. The event was organized as farewell to Amb. Reinprecht who since November 2013 served as Austria's General Consul in Hong Kong and Macau.

The discussion was about the way political civility is challenged and the threat posed to democracy as a system in different societies thanks to the isolation of the political class that become an elite, but also to the intolerance and a certain nihilism in the institutions of government.

The very ontological meaning of democracy is questioned by the erosion that suffers because of the action of populism that exploits common places in the anxiety and despair that exists in some social groups.

During her diplomatic career Amb. Reinprecht has been working on a broad range of issues ranging from bilateral relations with international organizations, in particular the United Nations, to global human rights, international humanitarian law and minority rights issues, European Union and economic relations to European third countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as well as with the European Free Trade Association and the European Environment Agency. Her career also includes international justice and home affairs, including terrorism and the fight against organized crime.

Participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong; Paul Zimmerman, District Councillor at Southern District Council: Prof. Werner Hess, Deputy Director of the European Union Academic Programme in Hong Kong; Prof. Alicia García-Herrero, Chief Economist, Asia Pacific at NATIXIS. She is also Senior Fellow at BRUEGEL and Bright Hong Kong member; Daniel de Blocq Van Scheltinga, Chairman of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, member of the executive committee of the European Chamber of Commerce and Bright Hong Kong member; Andrew Work, Head Content Strategist, Asia Pacific - NexChange and Bright Hong Kong member; Rev. Tjeerd de Boer, Professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in HK and Bright Hong Kong member; Renu Bhatia, Founding Partner at SuperCharger, Fintech accelerator in Hong Kong and Bright Hong Kong member; Mauricio Lozano, financial expert and Bright Hong Kong member; and Maria Tsolaki, Financial Forensics Investigator. She worked for Ministry of Finance, Hellenic Republic.

April 26, 2017

Asia & the New Global Disorder

Prof. Jean-Pierre Lehmann, who is Professor Emeritus International Political Economy at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) and also Founder of The Evian Group (April 1995), was the main speaker at the breakfast organized by Bright Hong Kong the last 27th of April.

 

During his presentation, Prof. Lehmann said that with the turn of the century, the world has experienced a series of profound disruptive transformations and simultaneous discontinuities. They include:

• The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war

• The amazing rise of China.

• The global market revolution.

• The transformative impact of supply chains on production processes.

• Unprecedented multiple demographic developments.

• Radical innovations in information-communication technologies, comparable in impact, as the late Peter Drucker argued, to the Gutenberg bible.

• Rapid environmental evolutions.

• Rise of new geopolitical forces and actors

 

He also pointed to the obsessive searches for identity and what Pankaj Mishra calls ¨the age of anger¨However, while these multiple transformations affecting virtually every aspect of human life have surged exponentially, institutions and the mentalities (especially of the Western elites) have evolved, at best, at a linear pace.

 

Globalisation was not, contrary to expectations and assumptions, leading to a ¨new world order¨, but rather to a chaotic transition to uncertainty.

 None of the ¨old order¨ institutions – UN and its multiple agencies, World Bank, IMF, WTO, etc – are functioning properly. At global, regional (eg EU) and national levels there is, among other things, a profound leadership deficit.

 

Witness as the Cancún (Mexico) WTO ministerial conference in 2003 following the launch in 2001 of the Doha Development Round, Prof. Lehmann was convinced that the arrangement would not work. ¨At the global institutional level, we have a tower of Babel¨, Prof. Lehmann said. 

 

The speaker also said that the scene at Cancún was reminiscent of the scene in the famous play of the Italian surrealist author Luigi Pirandello: ¨Six actors in search of an author¨ (Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore). The Western powers and Japan, the erstwhile dominant players, played intransigently, the new players (led by China, India, Brazil and South Africa) rebelled. The conclusion: the death of Doha and all the promise a reinvigorated and more just global institution could have had.

 

This global transformation occurs as much of the Asian continent, from the East China Sea to the Red Sea, experiences in some cases highly positive (mainly economic and social) and in other cases highly turbulent (mainly political and geopolitical transformations – from Damascus to Pyongyang. Dominated by the Western imperialist powers (and Japan) throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries, most of Asia was relegated to a passive global role. Clearly, the narrative of the 21st century will be written in Asia. This narrative, however, is occurring within the context of an institutional chaotic vacuum with atavistic forces still seeking to (literally) call the shots. For Asia to thrive, solid institution-building must be an urgent imperative. 

Participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong; Simon Haines, Director Research Centre for Human Values at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Jane Drake Brockman, Senior Services Advisor at UN International Trade Centre; Chris Drake, Chairman of the University of Oxford's China Advisory Group; Damián Martínez, CG of Mexico; Dr. Sari Arho Havrén, Consul of Innovation at TEKES; Deborah Biber, CEO of the Pacific Basin Economic Council; Kathleen Ferrier, former member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Christian Democratic Party; Jeremy Woodall, Director of Development, Asia at University of Oxford China Office; Servane Gandais, Director for International Relations at the CG of France; Efstratos Pourzitakis, principal investigator at KAS Hong Kong Konrad Adenauer Foundation/Hong Kong Baptist University; Mohammed Al-Sudairi, Fellow at the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh; Dr. Gregg Li, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Mauricio Lozano, financial expert and Víctor Arredondo, international trader.

March 21, 2017

Inequality, Globalization, and World Politics: The Great Metamorphosis of the 21st Century

The integration of the world economy through the progressive globalization of trade and finance has reached unprecedented levels with great impact worldwide. This new wave of globalization is having far-reaching implications for democracy and the economic well-being of citizens in all regions and among all income groups, and is the subject of active public debate.

The last 22nd of March, Bright Hong Kong welcomed Prof. Ngaire Woods, who is the inaugural Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance. Her research focuses on global economic governance, the challenges of globalization, global development, and the role of international institutions.

She founded the Global Economic Governance Programme. She is co-founder (with Robert O. Keohane) of the Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Fellowship programme. She led the creation of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University and, before her appointment as Dean, served as the School’s Academic Director.

Ngaire Woods has served as an Advisor to the IMF Board, to the UNDP’s Human Development Report, and to the Commonwealth Heads of Government. She was a regular presenter of the Analysis Program for BBC Radio 4, and in 1998 presented her own BBC TV series on public policy. She has also served as a member of the IMF European Regional Advisory Group, and Chair of a World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. She is currently a Rhodes Trustee, a member of the Advisory Group of the Center for Global Development (Washington DC), a member of the Academic and Policy Board of Oxonia, a member of the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and a Trustee of the Europeaum.

Her recent books include: The Politics of Global Regulation (with Walter Mattli, Oxford University Press, 2009), Networks of Influence? Developing Countries in a Networked Global Order (with Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, Oxford University Press, 2009), The Globalizers: The IMF, The World Bank and their Borrowers (Cornell University Press, 2006), Exporting Good Governance: Temptations and Challenges in Canada’s Aid Program (with Jennifer Welsh, Laurier University Press, 2007), and Making Self-Regulation Effective in Developing Countries (with Dana Brown, Oxford University Press, 2007).

 

She has previously published The Political Economy of Globalization (Macmillan, 2000), Inequality, Globalization and World Politics (with Andrew Hurrell: Oxford University Press, 1999), Explaining International Relations since 1945 (Oxford University Press, 1986), and numerous articles on international institutions, globalization, and governance.

 

She was educated at Auckland University (BA in economics, LLB Hons in law). She studied at Balliol College, Oxford as a New Zealand Rhodes Scholar, completing an MPhil (with Distinction) and then DPhil (in 1992) in International Relations. She won a Junior Research Fellowship at New College, Oxford (1990-1992) and subsequently taught at Harvard University (Government Department) before taking up her Fellowship at University College, Oxford.

Participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong; Carmen Cano, Head of the European Union in Hong Kong; Christopher Drake, Chairman of the University of Oxford's China Advisory Group;  Jasper Tsang Yok-Sing, former President of the Legislative Council; Kathleen Ferrier, former member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Christian Democratic Party, international expert; Alicia García-Herrero, Senior Fellow at Bruegel, Chief Economist at Natixis and a non-resident research fellow at Real Instituto El Cano; Daniel de Blocq Van Scheltinga, Chairman of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and founding partner Polarwide; Po Chi Wu, Prof. at University of California, Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin Madison, the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Andrew Work, Editor-in-Chief Harbour Times, Co-founder of The Lion Rock Institute; Philip Herbert, Director, Strategy & Regulatory Affairs at Hong Kong Express Airways; Erwin M. Akbar, Consul (Economics) at the Consulate General of Indonesia; Chris Thomas, Manager at Hong Kong Express Airways; Ayo Chan Yi-ngok, Founder, Governance Partners Yangon;  and  Nova Marina Sirait, Master student of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

March 21, 2017

Hope as a By-product of Innovation

Times of uncertainty challenge us in many ways. How we respond is a test of character. How do we find the courage to seize this opportunity to grow? How willing are we to examine our assumptions?

For Hong Kong to reinvent itself, very tough questions need to be asked. We have to confront and push through deep fears. This topic certainly leaded to a vigorous discussion gathering some of the most brilliant minds in Hong Kong with the guidance of Prof. Po Chi Wu.

Po Chi Wu is a Board Director at EFN and a lecturer at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. where he has initiated programs in innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels: undergraduate, MSc, MBA, and professional training for corporate executives. His 30 years of experience as a highly successful international venture capitalist and entrepreneur provides a unique perspective and a rich context for everything he does.

He is currently a Vice-Chairman of Invotech, a new non-profit organization in Hong Kong. He is driving an initiative, “Smart Conversations, Smart Citizens”, which aims to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs, especially young people, to focus their energies on creating practical solutions that will make Hong Kong a better, “smarter” city.

Germán Muñoz Díaz, Founder and Director of Bright Hong Kong gave the welcome message to the attendants:

Ms. Annemieke Ruigrok, Consul General of the Netherlands; Dr. Sari Arho Havrén, Consul of Innovation at the Consulate General of Finland; Prof. John P. Burns, Dean of Social Sciences Faculty, University of Hong Kong; Ms. Estelle Youssouffa, international broadcaster. In 2013 she launched a ¨Young Leaders initiative, Arab Countries in Transition: the next phase of economic growth in the context of an African renaissance¨; Ms. Vivian Taam Wong, Hon Professor in SCM, Medical Faculty at The University of Hong Kong and Chairman at ¨Friends of Earth¨; Gregg "Dr. G" Li, Chairman and Co-founder of Invotech Hong Kong Limited; Ms. Laurel West, Asia Editorial Director, Thought Leadership, The Economist Group; Ms. Kathleen Ferrier, former member of the Dutch Parlament and Human Rights expert; Mr. Andrew Work, Editor-in-Chief  Harbour Times and founder of The Lion Rock Institute; Ms. Alicia García-Herrero, Senior Fellow at Bruegel and Chief Economist at NATIXIS; Mr. Naubahar Sharif, SCMP contributor and Associate Professor at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Ms. Maria Tsolaki, Financial Forensics Investigator; Ms. Renu Bathia, Managing Director of SuperCharger; Mr. Alex Fok, Journalist Harbour Times.

December 07, 2016

Over the past few decades, we have seen the rise of populism - both left- and right-wing - from Sweden to Greece, Denmark to Hungary, but the most dramatic example still probably the  movement leaded by Donald Trump in the United States. 

The winner of the last US Presidential elections would not be where he is without a campaign centred on not only resentment of the elites, but on speech that whipped up growing waves of hatred against difference whether at home or abroad. In some way, Trump unleashed an international effect. He certainly could provocke enormous damage all around the globe in people, business and institutions.

To discuss the inedit events that followed a bitter political campaign, Bright Hong Kong hosted the last 8th of December a dialogue with Prof. Jack A. Goldstone and a distinguished group of guests. Prof. Goldstone is Virginia E. and John T. Hazel, Jr. Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Center for Global Policy, Schar School of Policy and Government at the George Mason University.

 

Germán Muñoz, Founder and Director of Bright Hong Kong emphasized the importance of this dialogue in which the following guests participated: Nikolaus Graf-Lambsdoorf, Consul General of Germany; Damián Martínez Tagüeña, Consul General of Mexico; Deborah Biber, CEO at the Pacific Basin Economic Council; Laurel West, Asia Editorial Director, Thought Leadership, The Economist Group; Paul Zimmerman, Chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation; Paul-François Polidori, Communications Officer at the European Union Office in Hong Kong and Macao; Alicia García-Herrero, Senior Fellow at Bruegel and a non-resident research fellow at Real Instituto El Cano; Andrew Work, Editor-in-Chief Harbour Times; Kathleen Ferrier, former member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Christian Democratic Party; Chris Drake, Chairman of the Oxford University's China Advisory Group; Luis Chapa, Humanist and Opera tenor at Metropolitan Opera House of New York; Tjeerd de Boer, schoolar at the Lutheran Theological Seminary Hong Kong; Daniel de Blocq, Chairman Dutch Chamber of Commerce; Renu Bhatia, Founding Partner at SuperCharger; Shahnaz Mouhamou, author & writer. 

November 03, 2016

The Asian Century: Managing with Constraints

Bright Hong Kong hosted a session with Chandran Nair as main speaker. Mr. Nair is member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council for Sustainability and has argued at numerous forums including the WEF, APEC and OECD about the need for radical reform of the current economic model and strict limits on consumption. Chandran Nair was previously Chairman of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) in Asia Pacific until March 2004 where he established the company as Asia’s leader in environmental consulting.

In Mr. Nair's view, the Western model of consumption-led economic growth cannot be replicated across the world. He argues that 6 billion Asians in 2050 cannot and should not aspire to live like the West. Instead, Mr. Nair offers an alternative paradigm for governments, business leaders, and academics to consider. He argues that economic policy needs to be realigned; to avoid the catastrophic outcomes that could result from the relentless promotion of a consumption-led growth model, at a time when resource constraints are only too apparent.

Mr. Nair is also the founder of The Global Institute for Tomorrow, an independent think-tank based in Hong Kong and Project Director for The Other Hundred, an international photography competition and photo-book project.

Chandran Nair is a frequent contributor to media outlets including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Huffington Post and The New York Times.

Participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director of Bright Hong Kong; Carmen Cano, Head of the Office of the European Union in Hong Kong & Macau; Dr. Mehdi Fakheri, Consul General of Iran; Kathleen Ferrier, Co-Founder Bright Hong Kong and former member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Christian Democratic Party; Bernard Pouliot, Owner Quam LimitedPaul Zimmerman, member of the Southern District Council for Pokfulam and CEO of Designing Hong Kong; Andrew Work, Editor-in-Chief Harbour Times, Co-founder of The Lion Rock Institute and also Co-founder at Bright Hong Kong; Doug Woodring, Co-founder of the Ocean Recovery Alliance; Po Chi Wu, Board Director at Enterprise Futures Network; Tjeerd de Boer, Faculty Member at Lutheran Theological Seminary; Christopher Drake, Chairman of the Oxford University China Advisory Group; John Van Praag, Utrecht University and former CEO InterContinental World Group; Robert Walzer, Political and Economic News Editor, Asia at The Wall Street Journal; Gritt Richter, EMpower - The Emerging Markets Foundation, Senior Program Officer for East and Southeast Asia;  Renu Bhatia, Founding Partner at SuperCharger; John W. Hoffman, principal at XRG China and Gerda Lameer.

September 25, 2016

Ethics, Business & Spirituality

In order to discuss this subject, Bright Hong Kong hosted a session with John Van Praag. 

John Van Praag, a classicist from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, has lived and worked as a businessman in Europe, the United States, and Asia.

 

He worked for McKinsey & Company as a consultant, for large corporations as an executive, and also as an entrepreneur in travel-related businesses and in international finance. For several years he was Chief Executive Officer of the InterContinental Hotels Group worldwide. Among his involvement in various non-profit organisations are listed his role as a trustee and chairman of the board of trustees of the Dartington Hall Trust in England, and his position of Chairman of the Eranos Foundation in Ascona, Switzerland. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (United Kingdom).  He currently devotes his time to board membership and project involvement, particularly in China, and to his multiple cultural and spiritual interests.

Among his publications are two bundles of poetry, entitled "Echoes of Timelessness", and "Empty Sea" respectively. He is currently working on a book on spirituality to be published under the title "Beyond Thought"

Participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder and Director of Bright Hong Kong; Patricia Laiping Fok, famous photographer and author; Kathleen Ferrier,expert on International Affairs and Human Rights; Carlo Imò, Head of KERING Asia-Pacific; Alicia García-Herrero, Chief Economist Asia Pacific at NATIXIS, Senior Research Fellow at the European think-tank BRUEGEL; Rev. Tjeerd de Boer, Faculty Member at Lutheran Theological Seminary; Daniel de Blocq, China & Asia Pacific Strategy Advisor; Rev. Kim Kwon Chan, former Executive Secretary at Hong Kong Christian Council;  Fern Ngai, Chief Executive Officer at “Community Business”; Edith Terry, Special Advisor and Director of External Relations of the Centre for Bioethics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Servane Gandais, Attache for Education, Consulate of France; Renu Bhatia, Founding Partner at SuperCharger; Mauricio Lozano, financial advisor.

August 25, 2016

The Future of Free Trade...and the Time to Stand for Humanity

“There is no greater enemy of free trade than zero-sum thinking.”

 Jack Goldstone (金世杰)

Prof. Jack Goldstone, Elman Family Professor of Public Policy, Director at HKUST Institute for Public Policy and Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, leaded an extraordinary dialogue with Bright Hong Kong on ¨The Future of Free Trade...and the time to stand for humanity… ¨.

Distinguished participants:

Germán Muñoz, Founder and Director of Bright Hong Kong gave the welcome speech to:

Damián Martínez Tagüeña, Consul General of Mexico in Hong Kong and Macau; Alessandro Paolicchi, Head of Trade at the European Union Office; Alicia García-Herrero, Chief Economist Asia Pacific at NATIXIS, Senior Research Fellow at the European think-tank BRUEGEL; Christopher Drake, Chairman of the Oxford University China Advisory Group; Nick Sallnow-Smith, Chairman of The Lion Rock Institute; Andrew Work, Editor-in-Chief, Harbour Times. He is also co-founder of The Lion Rock Institute; Ben Simpfendorfer, Founder & Managing Director at Silk Road Associates.

Other prominent attendees were:

Kathleen Ferrier, expert on International Affairs and Human Rights; Daniel de Blocq, China & Asia Pacific Strategy Advisor and Investment Banker; Paul-François Polidori, Information and Communication Officer at the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao; Renu Bhatia, Founding Partner at SuperCharger; John W. Hoffman, Co-Founder & Principal at Exceptional Resources Group (XRG); Stratos Pourzitakis, PhD Researcher at Hong Kong University and Energy Security Analyst, and Ayo Yi-ngok Chan, Master of Public Policy, University of Oxford.

May 22, 2016

Hong Kong & Macau: Asia´s Hub for Arts, Business & Entertainment

Bright Hong Kong hosted a dialogue on: “Hong Kong-Macau: Asia´s Hub for Arts, Business & Entertainment” with Dr. Wilfred Wong.

Other distinguished guests:

Anthony Lau, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Charles Ng, Associate Director of Invest Hong Kong; Dr. Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Founder Evian Institute at IMD; Anne Denis-Blanchardon, Consul of Culture, Education & Science, Consulate of France & member of the Board “Le French May";  Mr. Julien Löic-Garin, CEO at Le French May Arts Festival; Prof. Po Chi Wu,  Vice Chairman Invotech; Andrew Work, Editor-in-Chief Harbour Times; Víctor Ruíz, CEO ActiMirror; Maria Chen, Actress; Mauricio Lozano, Financial Especialist and Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong.

Dr. Wong is Deputy to the Eleventh National People’s Congress of the PRC. He is also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development. He is also President and Chief Operating Officer of Sands China Ltd. 

Mr. Wong’s public service continues through his participation in a number of councils and committees in Hong Kong. He is the Chairman of the Court and Council of the Hong Kong Baptist University; Chairman of Hong Kong Arts Development Council; Chairman of Hong Kong International Film Festival Society Limited; President of the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong; a Board Member of Hong Kong Tourism Board and Hong Kong Film Development Council.

For his distinguished public service, Mr. Wong was awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star Medal by the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2007 and the Gold Bauhinia en 2015. He was educated at Harvard University (MPA), Oxford University, University of Hong Kong (BSoc.Sc.) and Chinese University of Hong Kong.

April 28, 2016

Hate Speech: Citizenship, Governance and Human Rights Challenge

Bright Hong Kong hosted two wonderful speakers: Dr. Jack A. Goldstone (Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C) and Prof. John P. Burns (Dean of Social Sciences and Chair Professor of Politics and Public Administration at The University of Hong Kong).

Other distinguished participants: 

Nikolaus Graf Lambsdoorf, Consul General of Germany; Vincent Piket, Head of Office of the European Union; Victoria Wisniewsky, Justice Centre; Hualing Fu; Christopher Drake; David O'Rear; Andrew Work; Alicia García Herrero; Renu Bathia; Kathleen Ferrier; Mauricio Lozano; Rev. Tjeerd de Boer and Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director of Bright Hong Kong.

The dialogue about Hate Speech is motivated for many reasons. One of them is because, generally speaking, the right to freedom of expression extends to unpopular ideas and statements which shock, offend or disturb. Hate speech becomes the dark twin of Freedom of Speech. 

A number of human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, not only permit states to prohibit hate speech but actually require them to do so. The international human-rights consensus cannot be lightly dismissed but….are they leading in the right direction?

The Iranian writter Salman Rushdie said: ¨Freedom is Indivisible. You can't slice it up, otherwise it ceases to be freedom¨. Hate Speech is an incredible laberynth of axiological, political and legal dilemas…and affects our daily lives.

March 07, 2016

A Women´s World: The Reacheable Utopia

On the occasion of the International Women's Day. This event called for a group of the most out-standing women that builds Hong Kong in very different fields.

Participants:

Rachel Cartland: Administrative Officer in Hong Kong Government 1972 – 2006, Director Hong Kong Foresight Centre 2008 – 2010; Owner Cartland Consulting Ltd. Peter Hefele: Director Regional Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.  Dr Hefele leads the Regional Project on Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific; Alice Mong, Executive Director of Asia Society; Renu Bathia: Founding Partner and Managing Director SuperCharger Ltd; Edith Terry: Project Director at Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong. Advisor CUHK Centre for Bioethics where she provides support to a senior team based in the faculty of medicine that is working to establish Hong Kong's first interdisciplinary bioethics center; Angelina Yee: PhD (Harvard) Special Adviser to the President HKUST; Alicia Buenrostro, Mexican Ambassasor to Austria, concurrent with Slovakia and Slovenia and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations based in Vienna; Alicia García-Herrero, Chief Economist Natixis; Kathleen Ferrier, Rev. Tjerd de Boer, Andrew Work, Mauricio Lozano and Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong.

January 14, 2016

The Greening of Asia: The Business Case for Solving Asia´s Enviromental Emergency

On the light of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Asia Business Council Executive Director, Mark Clifford awarded with the Chris Welles Prize by the Columbia Graduate School presented to Bright Hong Kong ¨The Greening of Asia: The Business Case for Solving Asia’s Environmental Emergency¨

Other distinguished guests:

Dr. Christine Loh Kung-wai (Under Secretary for the Environment in HK); Dr. Mark Watson (Head of Sustainable Development at John Swire & Sons HK); Dr. Jeanne Ng (Director – Group Sustainability, CLP Power HK); John Hoffman, (Principal at Exceptional Resources Group); Paul Hitchens, (CEO All Solar Lights); Hanson Qu, (Princeton in Asia Fellow). Also: Amb. Alicia Buenrostro, Alicia García-Herrero, Katheleen Ferrier, Mauricio Lozano and Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong.

November 24, 2015

Innovation & Society

Sandro Desideri, Head of Green & Precision Engineering Cluster, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation and Mike Mastroyiannis, Innovation Management Consultant, both were the main speakers at the session organized by Bright Hong Kong on "Innovation & Society". They spoked about the extraordinary impact of technology in our society. 

Participants:

Simon Galpin, General Director Invest Hong Kong; Peter Tin, Certified Six Sigma Blackbelt and partner at Innogoal; Greg Smith; Deborah Biber, CEO Pacific Basin Economic Council; Olivier Maitre, Chairman of Thymus Consultancy; Víctor Ruíz, CEO Actimirror; Boris Duhamel, Owner Zapplin & Adventreez; Alicia Buenrostro; Alicia García-Herrero; Andrew Work; Kathleen Ferrier and Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong.

December 09, 2015

Religion, Tolerance & Reconciliation

On the ocassion of the International Human Rights’ Day (10 of December), Bright Hong Kong hosted a dialogue conducted by the Reverend Tjeerd de Boer on "Religion, Tolerance & Reconciliation".

 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, articules 18th & 19th:

Article 18./Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. 

Article 19./ Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Participants

Dr. Kim Kwong Chan, Executive Secretary, Hong Kong Christian Council, International Center for Law and Religion Studies; Dr. Mehdi Fakheri, Consul General Iran; Dr. Martin C.K. Chung, teaches the GE course “The World of Contemporary Europe” and conducts research on political reconciliation and “coming to terms with the past” in Europe and East Asia; Alicia Buenrostro; Matt Freedman, CEO The Mekong Club; Sylvia Yu; Daniel P. de Blocq Van Scheltinga; Alicia García-Herrero; María Gómez; Mauricio Lozano and Germán Muñoz, Founder & Director Bright Hong Kong.

October 29, 2015

Modern Slavery. The New Abolitionist Movement & The Tragedy of Comfort Women

Sylvia Yu & Matthew Freedman, CEO of The Mekong Club (http://themekongclub.org), spoke about the tragedy of modern human slavery. Sylvia presented her book "No More Silence" with testimonies of Korean women that where victims of sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation.

Every five seconds, a person enters slavery somewhere in the world. One minute it might be a 15-year-old girl forced into prostitution, the next a young boy forced onto a fishing boat to work 18 hours a day for years without coming to port, or a mother who is forced to work in a sweat shop to pay off a fraudulent debt.  Globally, it is estimated that there are nearly 36 million men, women and children in situations in modern day slavery today, with about 66 percent in Asia alone.  This is more than the total population of Canada. These victims, who can be found in factories, construction sites, within fisheries and sex venues, are forced to work for little or no pay, deprived of their freedom, and often subjected to unimaginable suffering. 

While most people think that human trafficking focuses primarily on women and girls being forced into the sex industry, according to one major UN study, this represents only about 25 percent of the total cases.  The remaining 75 percent fall under the heading “forced labor.”  Out of this figure, about 60 percent of the victims are associated with manufacturing supply chains, which begin with a grower or producer and end as a finished product purchased by consumers in the retail market.  As consumers we directly or indirectly contribute to this problem.  

Participants:

Deborah Biber, CEO Pacific Basin Economic Council; Amb. Alicia Buenrostro; María Pérez Ribes, Deputy Consul General, Spain; Martin Cheung, HK Baptist University; Ester Van Steekelenburg, Urban Discovery; Irene Lacasa HKUSPACE; Alicia García Herrero, Chief Economist Natixi; Andrew Work, Editor-in-Chief Harbour Times; Olivier Maitre, Chariman, Thymus Consultancy; Mike Mastroyiannis and Germán Muñoz.

January 26, 2016

50 Years of Mexico in Hong Kong

On the ocassion of the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Mexican Consulate General in Hong Kong, Julián Ventura Mexico´s Ambassador to China meet leaders of the local and international business community in Hong Kong.

Participants:

Fred Wang, Chairman, Salon Films Group. He is also Vice President of the China Film Foundation, Director of the Board of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society Limited, a Member of the Board of Asian Film Awards Academy, a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federation of Hong Kong Business Associations Worldwide and a member of the Hong Kong Advisory Board of British Academy of Film and Television Arts; Jens-Erick Olsen, ABS - American Bureau of Shipping, European Chamber of Commerce, InterCham Pearl River Delta Committee; Simon Large: Director Cargo Cathay Pacific Airways; Daniel de Blocq van Scheltinga, founder of Polarwide Ltd, a Hong Kong based independent financial and strategy advisory firm. He partners with Silk Road Associates as part of our executive program and briefing services.

 

John Hoffman, co-founder at Exceptional Resources Group (XRG); Simon Mak, founder of a cross-discipline professional service firm, Ascent Partners; Robert Walzer, World News Editor, The Wall Street Journal, were also attending the session.

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