IDEAS WORTH SPREADING

Amish Parasha

Modern Inventor & Innovation Evangelist

As a modern inventor, Amish will share his unique insights into the importance of innovation culture, a movement that has defined great companies such as Google and Apple. Amish will make the case for why innovation requires collaboration, and how experiential knowledge can create a ripple effect on our ability to innovate. 

Theresa Loong

Multimedia Maestro

Theresa Loong is an artist and award-winning multimedia director and producer who creates intergenerational storytelling experiences focused on memory, identity, and immigration through the use of film, games and apps.

 

JESKO VON DEN STEINEN

PROFESSIONAL ACTOR, CLOWN, FILMMAKER, DESIGNER & DIRECTOR

As the principal artist at “The House of Dancing Water”, Jesko is at the heart of masterful storytelling in his magical shows. In this “behind-the-scenes” introduction to the artistic process that goes behind world-renowned spectacles, Jesko will explain the importance of telling meaningful stories that go beyond a cliché. 

JOHN MCCALLA-LEACYFORMER

ATHLETE, OLYMPIC COACH, CORPORATE MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS ADVISOR

John McCalla-Leacy will give the talk of his life on his experiences tackling the waves and obstacles as a former Olympic canoe slalomist. Drawing comparison to the sport, John will explain how every aspect of life can throw similar obstacles at us, and how we can learn from athletes to overcome these obstacles. 

Vilislava Petrova

Trend, Colour, and Consumer Insights Specialist

Modern society goes through constant change and evolution, often initiated by a single thought or desire for something novel, or a simultaneous emergence of innovative ideas in different circles and locations. In her presentation, Vilislava will identify a new context that will inspire the creation, adoption and demand of an emerging global narrative. 

African Performance: Telma

Authentic African Charity Performance

Performed by asylum seekers from Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya, Telema reveals how refugees arise from former struggles to find refuge in Hong Kong. The production this year features local artist Jill Vidal as the female lead and a cast of more than ten African refugees.

Simon Birch

Acclaimed International Artist

Simon Birch is a renowned UK-born artist based in Hong Kong, recognised for his kinetic oil-on-canvas paintings and for his ventures into multimedia projects integrating paintings with film, installations, sculptures and performances. Born in Brighton in 1974 and of Armenian descent, Simon taught himself how to paint at a very early age, before making a name for himself in Hong Kong, and more recently venturing into the international art scene with solo shows in Beijing, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami, and Singapore, as well as group shows at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Haunch of Venison in London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Notable large-scale projects have included the 20,000 square feet multimedia installations HOPE & GLORY: A Conceptual Circus (2010), and Daydreaming With…The Hong Kong Edition (2012) at the ArtisTree in Hong Kong’s TaiKoo Place. 

Birch’s work has been critically recognised and acknowledged with prestigious awards such as the Louis Vuitton Asian Art Prize and the Sovereign Art Foundation awards. Apart from his dramatic paintings and installations, Simon has curated exhibitions, collaborated with leading creatives, and produced high-profile commissioned works, both private and corporate. Simon is represented by Ben Brown Fine Arts in London and Hong Kong.

Noor Huda

Terrorist Rehablitiation Coach                  

Noor Huda Ismail is a rehabilitation coach based in Indonesia, whose connection to the world of terrorism is a deeply personal one: his former Muslim boarding school roommate was involved in the 2002 Bali Bombing, while three of his other former schoolmates carried out suicide attacks in Indonesia, Syria and Iraq. 

To understand why some of his friends had become terrorists and to prevent more from converting, he founded the lnstitute for lnternational Peace Building in lndonesia (Yayasan Prasasti Perdamaian), an Indonesian NGO working with released ex-terrorists to help them re-integrate into society, winning the Ashoka Award in 2013 for his contributions. Prior to his work with Yayasan Prasati Perdamaian, Noor studied International Security at St. Andrews University and went to work for the Southeast Asia bureau of the Washington Post, where he interviewed hundreds of jailed terrorists in prisons across lndonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Yemen and the “no man’s land” areas in Syrian borders. Noor even visited military camps and safe houses. 

Today, to amplify his grassroots peace initiatives, Noor works closely with Google Ideas in New York on the global campaign for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), reaching out to survivors and perpetrators of terrorist attacks from lslamic, Christian and Catholic extremists to ethno nationalists, gang members, anarchists, neo-Nazi, Jewish and white supremacy activists.

Ivy Wong

Media Maven             

Ivy Wong has led major media brands into the top website positions in Hong Kong, initially as Asia’s Senior Director of Global Sales at Yahoo!, then as COO of TVB.com, followed by CEO of Next Mobile Limited.

From being Yahoo! Hong Kong’s first local member to heading its global sales office, building TVB.com, myTV and TVB fun up from scratch, and repacking Apple News with mobile interactive games, features and online exclusive documentaries, Ivy is perhaps the only person who has swept the media industry across the print, digital, TV and mobile channels.

After leaving Next Media, where she had been acting as an advisor for four months, she is now working on a lifestyle-oriented, Instagram-like mobile platform dubbed Viss, and charities engage in marketing and media planning via technology through a company called Rework. 

Dr. May-yi Shaw

Chinese Diaspora and Identity Specialis

Dr. May-yi Shaw is a U.S.-born and Taiwan-raised “third culture kid”, a passionate researcher in identity and cross-cultural perspectives, and currently a faculty member at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 

Having led most of her adult life as a global nomad, May-yi’s transcultural and transnational experiences have enabled her to become an expert on cross-cultural communication. Following years of study at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Tokyo, Waseda University and a PhD degree in East Asian Languages and Civilisations from Harvard University, May-yi was able to develop her deep-rooted passion for identity as an Associate Professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University, where she taught courses on English journalism and cross-cultural studies. From 2011 to 2013, May-yi also served as the host of the award-winning bilingual talk show “Culture Matters” by the International Channel of Shanghai.

Today, May-yi’s courses at HKUST - “China in the Foreigners’ Eyes”, “Identity Goes Global - From Border Crossing to Boundary Remaking” and “Questions of Humanity in World Literature” - seek to approach topics of cultures and humanity through a cross-cultural perspective. 

Virginia Lung

Award-winning Interior Designer

Virginia Lung is the co-founder of One Plus Partnership, a Hong Kong-based, internationally recognised interior design firm that has to date received over two hundred awards, including 10 “INTERIOR DESIGN” Best of Year Awards and 3 Gold Key Awards from U.S.A., 9 iF Design Awards and 4 Red Dot Awards from Germany, Good Design Awards and JCD Award from Japan, 8 TID Awards from Taiwan and continuously won the Andrew Martin Interior Design Awards for 8 years.

In 2012, One Plus Partnership was the only interior designer from Hong Kong and China to be awarded the Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year Award, bestowed by British design house Andrew Martin International. Virginia was also the only interior designer in the region to be appointed as a juror at NeoCon, North America’s largest design conference for commercial interiors.

As Director, Virginia initiates each project from a specific theme, which is inspired by novel unique elements blended and developed into a distinct space. Notable projects reflecting this theme- driven approach include the Nanchang Insun International Cinema, UA Cine Times Cinema at Times Square in Causeway Bay and the Kubrick Bookshop & Café in Beijing.

Nigel Reading

Architecture & Design Authority 

Nigel Reading is an architect, complexity geometer, sustainability advocate and Design Director of ASYNSIS Architecture + Design, working between Hong Kong, Shanghai and London.

Raised in Hong Kong and Australia and educatedin London, Nigel is the designer of the iconicobservation wheel proposal Hong Kong Spin, and the co-discoverer of the Asynsis principle-Constructal law, a new geometric, thermodynamics-led sustainable design paradigmof nature and culture. His Asynsis principle “designas (arts bridge to) science” merges thecontemporary with the contextual, synergising bespoke, culturally-resonant, beautiful, evocative, sustainability-informed designs that add maximum value to stakeholders’ projects and to client brands.

The principle is also an opportunity to develop new transcultural, global-savvy fusion design approaches in Asia, melding Western concepts of aesthetic and geometric beauty in the arts and sciences with Chinese philosophical concepts of auspicious harmony and good fortune. His work can be described as learning from how nature designs for beauty by following the most elegant energy flow patterns. This can also be understood as the optimal release of "Qi” energy flow behaviours by designing with the most beautiful “Li” signatures. He does this by describing, not only how the Golden Ratio forms space, but also—uniquely in his field—how it flows in time.

 

Jason Hsu

Storyteller, Curator of TEDxTaipei & TEDx Asia Ambassador

Jason Hsu is an educator, design thinker, storyteller and most of all a learner of Nature. Starting out as a journalist for Taiwan News, Jason developed a curious mind for humanity.

His desire to explore brought him to travel across Central and South America in search of a Che Guevara-like revolution. He spent time in Xi’an, China helping investigate and research water resource consumption under UNESCO. In 2008, he co-founded The Big Question Conference as a way to facilitate, build conversation and network among the youth in Asia. What began as a conference turned into a social innovation hub that draws a variety of creative talents and entrepreneurial minds to collaborate. He also co-founded TEDxTaipei in 2009 and has been serving as TEDx Ambassador since 2010.

Jason’s most recent endeavour was the founding of Shareable Cities, a venture established with the aim to explore sharing economy business models. Jason is passionate about open data, collaborative working as well as mutualism theories espoused by the beehive. He is a runner and an avid lover of mountain climbing.

William To

Design Vanguard: Creative Director at PMQ Curator of the Business of Design Week

William To is the Creative and Programme Director of PMQ, a newly launched creative platform for design entrepreneurs located in the heart of Hong Kong.

Before spearheading one of the most successful redevelopment initiatives in Hong Kong, William spent 18 years working in the advertising industry. In 1992, he founded his own agency, Vision Integrated Communications Ltd, and later became a brand consultant, helping clients launch their brands and products in Hong Kong and China. Since 2005, William has been the senior consultant at the Hong Kong Design Centre, where he is responsible for their flagship events—Business of Design Week (BODW), Knowledge of Design Week (KODW) and Design for Asia Awards (DFAA 2006-08).

Since August 2012, William has worked with PMQ, where he heads up ambitious and innovative efforts in creating programmes to inspire, connect and collaborate with Hong Kong’s local design community. 

 

Tsang Tsz Kwan

Specially Able Hong Kong Hero

Since early childhood, Tsang Tsz Kwan has been visually impaired, with a serious hearing problem and a severely weak sense of touch. Not one to let her disabilities dishearten her, she has approached life with inspiring ambition and determination, and to this day continues to beat the odds as an outstanding university student. 

In her own words, Tsz Kwan leads an ordinary, optimistic and happy life. Unable to read Braille with her fingertips, she has become one of the rare recorded cases to develop an ability to read the tactile script with her lips. After years of education at The Ebenezer School for the Blind, Tsang decided to continue her studies at the prestigious Ying Wa Girls' School, driven both by her ambition to achieve what any other student could, and by the hope that she could broaden her horizons, enlarge her social circle and better equip herself to fit into wider society. 

True to her ambition, Tsz Kwan did not let her disabilities stop her from ranking within the top 5% for nearly all her subjects in Hong Kong’s university entrance examination. Tsz Kwan is currently studying translation at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Beyond widening her knowledge of the world through books, she is also a firm believer in the value of first-hand experiences, and regularly participates in talks, symposiums and sharing sessions around such topics as educational development, intercultural exchanges, arts and literature. 

Chip Tsao

Outspoken Political Columnist                                                                                

Chip Tsao is a columnist and broadcaster in Hong Kong who has written on a wide range of subjects, many of which relate to the comparison of China with Western countries.

Chip is a renowned writer in Hong Kong, where his iconic column in HK magazine titled “Political Incorrectness” has garnered him much media attention for its satirical tone and often controversial views. In his early life, Chip gained a Bachelor’s degree in English from Warwick University and later gained a postgraduate diploma from London School of Economics and Political Science.

He began his career as a journalist in the United Kingdom, initially reporting for the BBC World Service during the Cold War, and later deputy editor of Eastern Express during the final years of British colonial rule in Hong Kong. Having lived both in the West and the East, Chip considers himself a global citizen.

De Kai

ReOrientate Performer/Creator & Professor in Multicultural Cognition, Language, Music

Creator of the unique Hong Kong-based multicultural collective ReOrientate, Dekai is among only 17 selected worldwide by the Association for Computational Linguistics to be honoured in 2011 as a Founding ACL Fellow, for his pioneering contributions to machine learning of the relationships between different languages.

A Berkeley PhD holder who came to Hong Kong to help create the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, De Kai built the world's first web translation service by developing radically new statistical translation foundations, with broad cross cultural applications in language and music. ReOrientate manifests these universals in multilingual pop by drawing upon Oriental musical traditions from Taoist, Sufi, Hindu, and Buddhist roots as well as the vast diaspora of tribes originating from ancient trade routes linking present-day western China, northern India, and eastern Pakistan, ranging from the Spanish flamenco gypsies to the Polynesians.

Micah Dortch

Co-Emcee

Micah Dortch is a linguist and a problem solver. He happens to think that adjusting ones language or singing can solve most problems in life. When not helping companies make better products more efficiently in China, he enjoys using humour and cultural understanding to bridge cultural gaps and barriers.

Micah has hosted several TV shows in China and has been featured on various networks including CCTV 5, and the Shanghai Media Group’s CBN cable network. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he speaks 7 languages and additionally several dialects of Chinese.

As the first female Cyr Wheel soloist in 2005, Valerie Inertie brought this new circus apparatus to the forefront in many leading European circuses. On May 31st, 2015, she brought her talents and amazing act to the Hong Kong Arts Center stage, wowing the audience with a spectacular performance, before sharing her experiences, career inspiration and insights with TEDxWanChaiWomen emcee Emma Reynolds.