The Role of Business in Shaping the Future of Education


Evening Panel Discussion

Drinks reception at 6.00pm
Discussion at 6.45pm
Close at 8.15pm


Higher education aims to equip students with the skills needed to add value to the companies that employ them and to be productive members of society. To meet industry’s need for skilled talent, academia must select and teach subject matter that enables students to be productive upon graduation and develop throughout their lives. However, many companies note that graduates often lack the skills needed to perform the work for which they have been educated. This requires companies to train fresh graduates, delaying individuals’ career growth and impeding the value they can contribute to society. This event will convene leaders from academia, industry and government to explore what stakeholders can do to shape education in a way that supports business and helps students acquire practical skills more cost effectively. Traditional education combined with online delivery and practical skills training can potentially offer a solution to this imbalance and help develop better prepared and skilled graduates to meet the needs of industry.

Some areas to be explored:

● What are the innovative ways companies are taking to put education at the core of their corporate strategy?
● How are companies creating shared value by fulfilling unmet educational needs, overcoming workforce constraints and bringing economic benefits back to the company?
● Is there a greater need for more vocationally-focused approaches to higher education?
● What can colleges and universities do to make tertiary education more relevant?
● What role does the government play in developing more effective tertiary education?

Please join us to contribute to the solution!


Colin Browne joined VF Corporation in 2011 and serves as Vice President and Managing Director of Asia sourcing organization. VF Corporation is an apparel and footwear company with many brands including Timberland, The North Face, Nautica, Kipling and Vans. During his career, Mr Browne has worked for Bally Shoes in the UK, Reebok in South Korea, Thailand and China, the Wongpaitoon Group in Thailand, the Pentland Group in the UK and Hong Kong, and most recently at Li and Fung Group where he led the group’s footwear and accessories division.

Michael M. Crow became President of Arizona State University in 2002, where he strives to combine the highest levels of academic excellence, inclusiveness to a broad demographic and maximum societal impact - a model he terms the “New American University.” Dr. Crow was previously Executive Vice Provost of Columbia University. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Public Administration, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Peter K. Yam is the retired president, Greater China of Emerson (NYSE: EMR). He spent 40 years working in the global electronics and electrical manufacturing industry. Mr. Yam holds a bachelors degree in electrical engineering from the University of Hong Kong and an Executive MBA from the University of Chicago. He is currently a non-executive director of Global Sources Ltd. (NASDAQ: GSOL), an adjunct professor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Business Administration Department of Management, a member of the College Council and the Board of Governors of the Centennial College, Hong Kong and a council member of the Asian Corporate Governance Association.

Peter Gordon is Editor of the Asian Review of Books, and has written extensively on education for Hong Kong newspapers. He began his career developing computers in Arabic, Russian and Thai. After moving to Hong Kong, he established a joint venture with the Soviet and then Russian Academy of Sciences to develop Asian-Russian trade and investment. In 1999, he set up one of Hong Kong’s first e-commerce firms, bookseller He has also organized the Hong Kong International Literary Festival and helped establish the Man Asian Literary Prize. (Moderator)


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Event Details

Tue 21 Oct 2014
6 - 8:15 p.m.
9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Buy Tickets
Asia Society members/ Columbia University Alumni/ Arizona State University Alumni HK$200; Non-members HK$250
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