Annual Presidents' Meeting 2023

The negative impact of humanity on our planet has reached a critical point. The boundaries of what our earth’s natural system can absorb are at risk to be crossed irreversibly. At the same time, the globe’s human population of eight billion people, many of whom are endangered by poverty, inequalities, armed conflicts, and climate change, needs innovative solutions for a sustainable future – a future that balances the needs of humanity and the protection of our planet. This cannot be done by any nation alone but requires concerted effort by all of us.

Under the theme “From Invention to Implementation: Solutions for a Sustainable Future”, presidents and senior administrators will explore the state of the planet, from threats to opportunities. They will share innovative thoughts about the goals we need to reach (such as carbon neutrality) and the solutions that allow us to reach them (such as green technologies). They will strive for a concerted effort from individuals, businesses, and governments to make these solutions a reality and to bring us closer to a sustainable future for humanity.


Meeting Program* (as of June 9, 2023)

June 25 (Sunday)  
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Arrival and Registration

Conference Hotel: Island Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong  

2:00 p.m – 3:30 p.m.

Steering Committee Meeting (for Steering Committee Members)

Venue: Tianshan and Lushan Rooms, Level 5, Island Shangri-La Hotel

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Welcome Reception

  • Formal meet and greet by President and Vice-Chancellor Xiang ZHANG, The University of Hong Kong and UCLA Chancellor Gene BLOCK, APRU Chair
  • Welcome of new APRU member and new presidents

Venue: University Lodge, 1 University Avenue, The University of Hong Kong


June 26 (Monday)  
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Venue: Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong 

Session I – Opening Session

Opening Remarks by:

  • President and Vice-Chancellor Xiang ZHANG, The University of Hong Kong
  • Chancellor Gene BLOCK, UCLA and APRU Chair

Keynote Speeches 

  • Keynote speakers to be announced


  • Professor Derek COLLINS, Dean of Faculty of Arts, The University of Hong Kong
10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Group Photo

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Coffee Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Session II: Thematic Symposium

Keynote speaker to be announced

12:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Venue: Loke Yew Hall, Main Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Lunchtime Address: East Meets West – Connecting the World


  • Dr. Allan ZEMAN, Chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group; Governor of the Board of Governors of Our Hong Kong Foundation
2:15 p.m – 3:45 p.m.

Session III – Panel Discussion

Venue: Lecture Hall II, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Panel 1 – Our Planet, Our Future

Our planet is undergoing rapid change – from accelerating climate change and ongoing geopolitical tensions through the challenges of economic, demographic, and digital transformations, to the recent world-wide havoc of the Covid pandemic. The global outlook is now vastly different from what it was in the past decade, with wide-spread concern whether these disruptive changes will still allow us to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. 

As we are half-way through achieving the sustainable development goals of 2030, what are the urgent issues that now require ambitious action? Do we perceive and assess these problems differently from before? And how can research universities fulfil their social responsibility of communicating and creating solutions to achieve sustainable growth?

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Coffee Break

4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Session IV – Panel Discussion

Panel 2 – Unleash Green Technologies to Power the Future

The acceleration of climate change has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, causing increasingly dangerous impact on nature, people and built infrastructure in every region of the world. These events have also significant economic consequences. The urge for fostering research on low-emission energy production and green technologies apt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to mitigate the effects of human-caused climate change has never been stronger.

What roles do research universities play in facilitating research and discovery across disciplines? How should we incubate innovative technologies and support their growth? How can we unlock the potential of new innovations and leverage them, so they create long-lasting impact? How will we best foster public-private partnerships in this area?

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Gala Dinner

Venue: Ming Pavilion, 14/F, K.K. Leung Building, The University of Hong Kong


  • Professor Derek COLLINS, Dean of Faculty of Arts, The University of Hong Kong


June 27 (Tuesday)  
9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.

Opening of Day 3

Venue: Lecture Hall II, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Panel 3 – Educating Future Generations for Planet Thought Leadership

The rapid changes our planet is undergoing underscore the importance of swift and collective action. At the same time, they also require foresight and long-term planning. Higher education plays a key role not only in providing research-based solutions for today, but also in training future generations. It is the indisputable responsibility of universities, in the face of these unprecedented circumstances, to prepare students so they assume the leadership in addressing the planetary challenges.

How can higher education equip students with the mindset, the knowledge, and the skills to be change-makers? What can be done to raise the overall awareness of these core values and abilities? Amidst the widening digital divide and social disparity, how can we provide equitable and inclusive education opportunities to all?

10:25 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Panel 4 – Systems Approach to Mitigating Globally Connected Risks

The threats posed by the climate emergency, the loss of biodiversity, pollution and other planetary challenges transcend national borders and social boundaries. The failure of major stakeholders to collaborate and to take decisive action threatens human existence. At the same time, as emphasized by climate justice, those countries that have been the largest emitters of carbon emissions have the greatest responsibility to help those countries that, while not having been large emitters, will suffer first and worst from the climate emergency. It is crucial to enhance understanding and communication of the complexity of the issues involved, and to hold those who cause climate change accountable.

As the key institutions of knowledge creation and knowledge transfer, what role do universities have in educating and communicating about the planetary risks? How well do they draw the roadmap of resilience building? How can we ensure that these plans are comprehensive and equitable, and that there is a shared understanding of the agenda among stakeholders? What can we learn from others when developing a systematic approach to mitigating the consequences of intertwined global risks?

12:00 p.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Session V – Concluding Session


  • Chancellor Gene BLOCK, UCLA and APRU Chair
  • Vice-Chanellor and President Rocky S. TUAN, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and APRU Vice-Chair
12:10 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Session VI – Business Meeting

  • Chief Executive’s Report
  • Report for Fiscal Year 2022
  • Election of Steering Committee 2023
  • Invitation to Senior International Leaders’ Meeting 2023
  • Invitation to APEC University Leaders’ Forum 2023
  • Invitation to Annual Presidents’ Meeting 2024
12:45 p.m. – 12:55 p.m.

Concluding Remarks by

  • President and Vice-Chancellor Xiang ZHANG, The University of Hong Kong
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Farewell Lunch

2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sightseeing Program (optional)

Depart from Lobby (Level 6) of Island Shangri-La Hotel

Walking Tour in Central and Vintage Tram Ride

This walking tour takes you to the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator, Tai Kwun, Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road and the open wet market, offering you a closer look of the historic buildings and experience our local culture and daily activities. 

After the walking tour, enjoy an amazing ride on the double decker vintage tram. Affectionately known as “Ding Ding”, the tramway is a connection between Hong Kong’s colorful history and modern cultural life. You will have a glimpse of the bustling streets where you see traditional stores, residential, colonial architecture and ultra-modern skyscrapers in the business area.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Steering Committee Meeting (for Steering Committee Members)

Venue: Tianshan and Lushan Rooms, Level 5, Island Shangri-La

*Program is subject to change.


  • Registration for the Annual Presidents’ Meeting 2023 has closed. Please contact Ms. Elaine Hung at [email protected] if you have any enquiries. 

Ms Elaine Hung, Director, Events & Relations, APRU

Email: [email protected]