The 2011 USC Global Conference opened with a lion’s roar as USC president C. L. Max Nikias and Hong Kong finance secretary John Tsang inaugurated the event with a ceremonial “waking” of a lion in a traditional Chinese dance.
The waking was a symbol of both the beginning of the conference and the larger emergence of the “Age of the Pacific,” a focus of USC. One of the president’s priorities is to create trans-Pacific alliances by fully utilizing Los Angeles as a laboratory for trans-Pacific research, education and culture, and by building the foremost network of Pacific leaders.
The evening’s gala dinner, attended by more than 500 alumni, supporters, Board of Trustee members and friends of the university, reflected the theme of international cooperation in pursuit of solutions to current economic, scientific, environmental, policy and cultural challenges that cross geopolitical and disciplinary boundaries.
“We recognize the inevitability and necessity of our global community intersecting in ways that are profoundly new and that will require us to look beyond established paradigms,” said Elizabeth Garrett, USC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. ”The recent shift of influence in economies, industries and culture to the Pacific Rim is clear.”
Garrett also acknowledged the work of conference co-chair and USC trustee Ronnie C. Chan, who in brought the region’s business community together for this event.
Tseng, the special speaker for the evening, emphasized the importance of research education institutions like USC in the economic development and long-term prosperity of metropolitan areas such as Hong Kong.
“Taking a leaf out of the USC book of progress, Hong Kong is increasing its focus on attracting quality international talent to our universities as well,” Tsang said. “We are also working hard to become better connected with schools, with research institutions and high-tech companies around the world. These days we are placing a stronger emphasis on innovation and technology, on education, as well as creative industries. This will make Hong Kong a more creative and innovative place.”
After the evening’s formal remarks, the event concluded on a cultural high note with a selection of classical and traditional Korean music performed by three USC Thornton School of Music students: soprano Juhye Kim and tenor Sungwook Kim from South Korea and Kevin Wu, who was born in Hong Kong.