Master Talk:
Embracing Creativity and Diversity in a Liberal Arts College


As our community warms up to discussions on education innovation and how to nurture creativity and enable multiple pathways for young people to face a future that will be very unlike its past, it is timely that President Oxtoby is in Hong Kong and has agreed to speak to us on Creativity and Diversity in college as important capacities to prepare the young generation for their future.

The short talk by President Oxtoby will be followed by a dialogue with Bernard Chan and moderated by Ada Wong, both alumni of Pomona College.

Pomona College is a premier liberal arts college in the USA. Its students come from all corners of the world and share an interest in doing something meaningful with their lives.  In addition to reflections on creativity, the dialogue between President Oxtoby and Bernard Chan will also touch on diversity and respect, and difficult conversations on campus against a backdrop of contentious politics and societal polarisation.  It will also be interesting to understand how the Pomona liberal arts education has influenced Bernard and Ada’s values and shaped their interest and commitment in public service and social innovation.

David Oxtoby
President, Pomona College, Claremont, California

Prof David Oxtoby is President of Pomona College in Claremont, California.  An internationally-known physical chemist, he previously served as Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at the University of Chicago and is also Professor of Chemistry at Pomona College.

Under President Oxtoby’s leadership, Pomona College has launched initiatives in sustainability, arts and creativity, general education programs and equal opportunities for all including low-income and under-represented students. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Chemical Society.  In 2012, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He currently serves on the Academy Trust of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; the Board of the Institute for the International Education of Students; and the Claremont University Consortium Board of Overseers.

Bernard Chan, GBS JP
Member, Executive Council of Hong Kong SAR
President, Asia Financial Holdings Ltd.
President, Asia Insurance Co. Ltd.

Bernard Charnwut Chan is a deputy to the National People’s Congress of China and a non-official member of Hong Kong’s Executive Council (2004-09 and from 2012). He is also a former member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (1998-2008).

A graduate of Pomona College in California, he is the President of Asia Financial Holdings and Asia Insurance.  He is Chairman of the Hong Kong – Thailand Business Council and an advisor to Bangkok Bank (China) Co. Ltd.  He sits on the boards of several local and overseas companies in the financial services, utilities and manufacturing sectors.  He also joined the governing board of the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund in Hong Kong.  Among his public service activities, he is Chairman of the Committee on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food, Chairman of the Steering Committee on Restored Landfill Revitalisation Funding Scheme, Chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Ltd. Advisory Committee and Chairperson of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.  He was Chairman of the Council for Sustainable Development (2009-2015), Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board (2009-2012) and Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Revitalisation of Historic Buildings (2008-2016).

He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 2002, and a Commander (3rd Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand in 2004.  In 2006, he was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government. In 2015, he received honorary degrees from Lingnan University and City University of Hong Kong.

He is married and has two children.

Ada Wong, JP
Founder, The Good Lab
Director, Ednovators
Supervisor, HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity



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