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Yearly Event 2015 Speakers

Kuanghan Li

Director of China Heritage Program, Global Heritage Fund

Kuanghan Li is the Director of the China Heritage Program for Global Heritage Fund, a NGO that is dedicated to preserving the most significant and endangered cultural heritages sites in developing regions.

Trained as an architect and conservator, she was involved in various architectural design and historic preservation projects in New York City, Ladakh India, Paris and Morocco. Since 2005, she is devoted to historic preservation in China, and has helped to protect some of the most significant cultural heritage sites including the Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples in Chengde, The Diaolou buildings and villages for Tibetan and Qiang ethnic groups, Old Town of Lijiang, Mount Wutai, and the Ancient City of Pingyao.  Her current focus is on rural conservation and development of southwest China, where she spent the past 4 years working to help sustainably preserve a pristine Dong village in Guizhou Province, and empowering the local community through the act.

Kuanghan holds a BA in architectural studies from the National University of Singapore, a Masters degree in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently a PhD candidate at Peking University in cultural heritage conservation.  She is fluent in Mandarin, French, and English.

De Kai

Creator of the world’s first web translator, Creator of the unique Hong Kong ­based multicultural collective ReOrientate

De Kai 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.

De Kai’s cross ­disciplinary work relating music, language, intelligence, and culture stems from a liberal arts perspective emphasizing creativity in both technical and humanistic dimensions. A Berkeley PhD 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.

December Salon 2015 Speakers

May Mei

WildAid China Chief Representative

May Mei is a 10 year veteran in managing and operating international non-profit organizations. In 2004, she founded the WildAid China office serving as the China Chief Representative. WildAid China under her leadership has successfully launched numerous influential awareness campaigns on endangered wildlife protection and climate change.

Some of WildAid’s best-known campaigns include “Say No to Shark Fin”, the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist promotion series, and public messaging on protecting tigers. Under her leadership, WildAid secured more than 198 million USD in pro bono media assets to broadcast its public service advertisements in 2014.

She has experience at many leading television stations in both the US and China including CCTV and Hunan TV as well as time in the TV industry as a director and producer for 8 different network programs. She has participated in the production of more than 500 TV episodes and received numerous awards for her work.

Want to watch her talk? Click here!

Zhu Rui

Professor of marketing and co-director for the Branding Center in Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB)

Prior to joining CKGSB, Zhu Rui is an associate professor of marketing, and Canada Research Chair in consumer behavior at the University of British Columbia.  She received her Ph.D. in Marketing from University of Minnesota.

Professor Zhu has done extensive research on consumer behavior, creativity, and advertising. In 2010, Professor Zhu won the Sauder Junior Research Prize. In 2007, Professor Zhu received the Marketing Science Institute’s Young Scholar award, which identified 20 scholars around the world as the leaders of the next generation of marketing academics. Professor Zhu’s research has been published in leading journals such as Science, the Journal of Consumer Research, and the Journal of Marketing Research, and has been featured in media outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Independent, CBC, and Financial Times. She is currently an Associate Editor at the Journal of Consumer Psychology, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Professor Zhu has extensive experience in teaching and consulting. She teaches marketing management and consumer behavior in the undergraduate, MBA, and EMBA programs.

Want to watch her talk? Click here!

November Salon 2015 Speakers

Fernando Botero

World Renowned Artist

Fernando Botero was born in Medellín, Colombia in 1932. His firsts paintings and drawings were inspired by Gustave Doré’s engravings of the Divine Comedy, and by posters of bullfights. He had his first exhibition in Bogota in 1951 in Leo Matiz’s gallery, and in 1952 he won second place in the “Salón Nacional de Artistas” in Bogota. He travelled to Madrid and Florence with his prize money, where he studied the exploration of volume and perspective in the Renaissance painters.

Throughout his career he has approached a multitude of themes: still lifes, Latin-American life, the Bullfight, the Circus, among others. Today, he is considered the most important living artist in the world; his work has been exhibited in some of the most important museums and places around the world: l’Hermitage (St. Petersburg), Piazza della Signoria (Florence), and he is the only artist who has been invited to exhibit his monumental sculptures in Champs Elysées, in Paris.

August Salon 2015 Speakers

Prince Albert II

H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco acceded to the throne on July 12, 2005. The following year, he created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which continues his personal commitment for the protection of the environment by supporting sustainable, ethical and innovative projects around the world, with a focus on three main challenges: fighting against climate change and promoting renewable energy; combating the loss of biodiversity; and preserving water resources.

In January 2009, Prince Albert II of Monaco undertook a scientific journey in the Antarctic. This journey follows upon two other expeditions realized in Arctic in 2005 (Spitzberg) and 2006 when he reached the North Pole by sledge.

H.S.H the Prince received, among others, the Teddy Roosevelt medal at the United States Congress, the Roger Revelle prize at the University of California in San Diego, and the B.A.U.M Environmental award in Hamburg. These distinctions were awarded to him in acknowledgement of his actions towards environmental protection.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco attended Amherst College (B.A., 1981) in Massachusetts and served in the French navy. HSH the Prince participated in five Olympic Games, from Calgary in 1988 to Salt Lake City in 2002. A member of the International Olympic Committee since 1985, he is also President of the Monegasque Olympic Committee.

May Mei

WildAid China Chief Representative

May Mei is a 10 year veteran in managing and operating international non-profit organizations. In 2004, she founded the WildAid China office serving as the China Chief Representative. WildAid China under her leadership has successfully launched numerous influential awareness campaigns on endangered wildlife protection and climate change.

Some of WildAid’s best-known campaigns include “Say No to Shark Fin”, the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist promotion series, and public messaging on protecting tigers. Under her leadership, WildAid secured more than 198 million USD in pro bono media assets to broadcast its public service advertisements in 2014.

She has experience at many leading television stations in both the US and China including CCTV and Hunan TV as well as time in the TV industry as a director and producer for 8 different network programs. She has participated in the production of more than 500 TV episodes and received numerous awards for her work.

Ma Jun

Director of Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs

Ma Jun is a the director of one of China’s most dynamic environmental NGOs, the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), which is committed to promoting transparency around pollution issues in China. IPE has expanded its work to create  the Green Choice Alliance, which is a coalition of Chinese NGO organizations that promote a global green supply chain by pushing large corporations to concentrate on procurement and the environmental performance of their suppliers.

In the 1990s Ma became known as an investigative journalist, working at the South China Morning Post from 1993 to 2000. There, he began to specialize in articles on environmental subjects. He eventually became the Chief Representative of SCMP.com in Beijing. He was named as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world by Time magazine in May 2006, in an article written by Hollywood film star Ed Norton.

Ma’s 1999 book China’s Water Crisis has been compared to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring – China’s first major book on the subject of that nation’s environmental crisis. In 2012, Ma received the Goldman Environmental Prize and in 2012 he made the list of Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers.

Want to watch his talk? Click here!

Dr. Enric Sala

Marine Ecologist | Explorer-in-residence

Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence actively engaged in exploration, research and communications to advance ocean policy and conservation. His more than 120 scientific publications are widely recognized and used for real-world conservation efforts such as the creation of marine reserves. Enric is currently working to help protect the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide, and to develop new business models for marine conservation. He combines exploration, scientific research, economic analysis, and media to inspire country leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean.

Working together with conservation organizations, Enric was key in inspiring the creation of large marine protected areas such as the Pacific Remote Atolls National Monument, USA; the Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park, Chile; the Seamounts Marine Managed Area, Costa Rica; the Southern Line Islands Marine Reserve, Kiribati; and the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve, UK. Enric is a 2008 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, 2013 Research Award of the Spanish Geographical Society, 2013 Lowell Thomas Award of the Explorers Club, and 2013 Hero Award of the Environmental Media Association. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Want to watch his talk? Click here!

July Salon 2015 Speakers

Biman Najika Liyanage

Researcher at RSRI Laboratory

Biman Najika Liyanage is from Sri Lanka and specialized in Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging. Before joining the laboratory, Biman was a researcher at the Microsoft Asia Pacific Research Center where he was working on Data mining and Machine Learning Applications. Biman has patents in the area of wearable for visually impaired people.

Biman has collaborated on research projects with top ranked universities around the world in multidisciplinary study. Among many other awards, Biman has been awarded the CSC scholarship from Chinese Government from 2013 Biman is also a ranked National level Badminton player in his home country Sri Lanka.

Lisa Zhao

Co-founder and COO of LYRobotix

Lisa spent her childhood on a military base alongside her parents who graduated from Beihang University (a university with an emphasis on aerospace). She has always had deep interest in aerospace. When two of her close friends from high school asked her to launch a drone research startup with them, Lisa decided to take a leave of absence from Columbia Law School to join them.

From there, they founded LYRobotix in early 2015, a drone startup that focuses on making drones smarter and more autonomous. They have since completed indoor localization solution based on computer vision and received angel investment.

June Salon 2015 Speakers