Prof. William C Kirby shared Insights on the Prospects for Chinese Leadership in the 21st Century at HKBU Distinguished Lecture


The Department of History is honored to be the hosting department of Prof. William C Kirby, T.M. Chang Professor of China Studies, Harvard University, Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School as well as one of the recipients of HKBU Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities 2017.

In the afternoon of 14 November 2017, Prof. Kirby delivered a Distinguished Lecture under the title “A Chinese Century? Infrastructure, Entrepreneurship and Education in the 21st Century” and shared his view on China’s capacity to lead the world. Dr. David Schley, MC of the Event, welcomed all the guests and introduced Prof. Kirby to the audience. Prof. Roland T. Chin, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU, delivered a welcoming address to kick-start the event.

In the lecture, Prof. Kirby explored the prospects for Chinese Leadership in the 21st Century. He focused on three aspects: infrastructure, entrepreneurship, and education. As for the infrastructure part, he discussed numerous examples of how China took the leading role now, including the high-speed railway and the coverage of the cell-phone network. He then moved on to discuss a series of Harvard Business School cases and demonstrated how some entrepreneurs started their business in the agricultural sector. While he showed multiple cases of how internationally well-known universities established new campuses in China, he argued that the education power in China wass rapidly growing. He believed that China had the capacity to lead the world in the 21st century; nevertheless, he also pointed out that some political problems still exist in China.

A panel discussion was arranged after the lecture. Prof. Clayton MacKenzie, Provost of HKBU served as the Moderator. Panel members included Prof. Kirby; Prof. John Carroll, Associate Dean (Outreach), Faculty of Arts, and Professor of Department of History, The University of Hong Kong; and Prof. Ting Wai, Department of Government and International Studies, HKBU.

The Lecture was organised by the Department of History and the Alumni Affairs Office, the event attracted a full house of over 400 audience from different universities and professional bodies.