The 21st World Knowledge Forum (WKF) will kick off Wednesday in live feed to explore solutions in the post-pandemic era, with the ceremony to be opened by former UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Alphabet Chairman John L. Hennessy.
Asia’s largest annual business agenda forum hosted by South Korea’s Maekyung Media Group will run for three days from Shilla Hotel in central Seoul.
Under the theme of “Pandemics Perspective: Shaping New Global Symbiosis,” this year’s forum would offer both offline and online sessions amid social distancing restrictions. Programs would be livestreamed via YouTube or Twitter, allowing not only on-site but homebound audiences around the world to join in the discussions and brainstorming sessions.
Wednesday talks would open with Theresa May, the 76th U.K. prime minister, who will share her vision of leadership in the COVID-19 era, and John Hennessy, chairman of Google’s parent Alphabet, who will expound on the future of technological innovations.
The afternoon open session would feature Lynda Obst, producer of the hit science fiction film “Interstellar;” Cedric O, France’s minister of state for digital affairs; Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia Group; and Seo Jung-jin, chairman of Korea’s biopharmaceutical giant Celltrion.
Sampro TV and other major local YouTube influencers specializing in economics would be broadcasting the talks, offering insightful commentaries that would also be made available on the WKF’s YouTube channel.
On Thursday, public and private institutions, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, will host a series of talks on topics ranging from corporate governance to post-COVID business strategies.
The OECD session on corporate governance would be chaired by Mats Isaksson, head of the Corporate Governance and Corporate Finance division at the OECD. Joining the talks are David Weild IV, founder and CEO of Weild & Co. and former vice chairman of the NASDAQ Stock Market, and Luca Garavoglia, chairman of Italian food and beverage conglomerate Campari Group.
McKinsey would take part in two sessions on Thursday. In the morning, Oliver Tonby, chairman of McKinsey Asia offices, would sit down with Forrest Li, founder, chairman and group CEO of Sea, a Singapore-based global consumer internet company, to talk about the new normal of Asia in the world of COVID-19.
The afternoon session would feature Jeongmin Seong, partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, McKinsey’s business and economics research arm; Karel Eloot, senior partner of McKinsey’s Shenzhen office; and Richard Lee, senior partner at McKinsey’s Seoul office, to share corporate survival strategies in the post-COVID era.
On Friday, Alibaba Group Founder Jack Ma and former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will lead a debate on the new norms of the post-pandemic era and the common global challenges faced by the international community.
This will be Ma’s second time on the WKF stage. He last attended the event in 2002 when Alibaba was then a fledgling ecommerce startup.
A giveaway event is planned for the forum’s YouTube audience. Viewers are invited to submit their photos watching the event on YouTube to WKF’s Instagram account or via Facebook direct message. Winners would be selected by a random draw of lots. Prizes include a brand-new iPad (1), Galaxy Watch Active (2) and mobile coffee gift vouchers (10).
By Yoon Won-sup and Kim Hyo-jin
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