Skip to content

Asian Leadership Conference held in Seoul, South Korea by ChosunMedia the Chosunilbo on May 14-15, 2019

I was a speaker at the Asian Leadership Conference. I was delighted to be there. Almost every speaker I had a chance to listen said the same thing. They were happy to be there, and I believe it was not a cliché, but people were happy to be in Seoul. There was an interested, respectful and sincere audience listening to the speakers wholeheartedly.

I found the conference to be very valuable to the community in Korea. To listen to what is happening in G20 and W20- Women 20 the audience looked happy. The timing was in due course as the Korean Presidency of G20 took place in 2010, just before many Prime Ministers and influential people started declaring that they are feminists and further two W20 conferences were held in the neighborhood of Korea, the W20 Xi’an Summit in China in 2016 and the W20 Tokyo Summit in Japan in 2019, respectively. It was well timed and a good way to convey the audience in Korea about the recent developments. Thanks to the efforts of Chosun Media and Angela Joo-Hyun Kang, Founder and Executive President of Global Competitiveness Empowerment Forum and the W20 South Korean Delegate. I must not forget about the support of the other Korean W20 delegates: Minah Kang and Kumjoo Huh, Executive Vice President of KYOBO Life Insurance Company. It was also indeed a pleasure to see and meet during the conference many young talented women several of which were from Chosun Media. The comments from the audience presented deep knowledge in the issues.

In the session on W20 ( Women 20 ) Women’s Economic Empowerment of G20 Countries, the panel included Co-Chair of W20 Japan, Dr. Yoriko Meguro and the representative of All China Women Federation representing Republic of China, Zhang Lin, and myself as the Founding Chair of W20 during the presidency of Turkey in 2015. The Director General of the Liaison Department of All-China Women’s Federation, in China, Hong Mu has lost her mother and she couldn’t attend, and I convey my condolences to her, once more here.

The panel was moderated by Angela Joo-Hyun Kang, the W20 delegate of Korea. Dr. Yoriko Meguro, the Co-Chair of Japan explained the compilation and contributions put forward in the Communique of Japan in 2019 in Tokyo. The Chinese representative effectively presented what they have achieved in 2016 for the W20.

I explained that we have come one step forward by W20, even though there were many other influential efforts on gender. The W20 came out of the need for growth of the G20 countries. That is a pull starting from the governments, to invite women to the workplace, instead of a push from the human rights activists. The pull effect starts from G20 Communiques and the notion that if women are included in the economy, they will bring out a contribution to growth and sustainability for their respective countries. The value proposition for gender inclusion is clear in all the G20 documents.

I also mentioned that W20 Germany and W20 Argentina who were not represented in the panel have done great contributions within their respective Communiques and their positive effect to G20 Communiques for gender inclusion.

During the conference I found time to listen to other speeches, even though jetlag of more than 10 hours flight was in effect.

Gerhard Schröder, Former Chancellor of Germany, during his speech at the conference was very outspeaking in many respects. Firstly, he stressed that President Trump’s strategy of “America First” is a threat to Europe and Asia and it is creating turmoil in the world. Thinking about what he said, he may be right. After the crises exported to the world with the financial turmoil of 2008, the recent crisis may be more than the world can endure.

Nikki Haley, the 29th United States Ambassador to the United Nations delivered a notable speech. She was very outspoken about China. “Reverse engineering is there, and it distorts intellectual property rights of those who had innovated or implemented the technology in the first place”. It was a strong point she had repeatedly said. “In the US the laws are for protecting the individuals and in the countries like China laws are there to guard the power. Leaders of democratic countries are not authoritative. When you are too authoritative you cannot always win. Economy is slowing down in China; environmental disasters are taking place and costs are accumulating to alleviate the progress. Surveillance, monitoring and recording systems are interfering with human rights. Liberty, perseverance and freedom as well as happiness and the respect for life choices need to be recognized for people. Economies should not serve politics. The ambition or the aim in the economic growth seems to continue to be politically powerful. Unnecessary use of power was exerted towards neighboring countries.” These were the strong words I could recall.

She was repeatedly asked if she is going to run for the Presidency of the United States. She is outspoken in many respects but her answer to this question was not very clear. “I will not run this term” captured an answer implying that not this term, but if she finds the opportunity she may run for the presidency in the future. At least, that was how I understood it.

She made a declaration about her background that I had not earlier knew about her. She was raised in the United States and she is coming from an entrepreneurial family who were migrants from India.

Gosh Choking Tong, Emeritus Senior Minister of Singapore said, “we need a green, clean and sustainable world”. He imagines that we also need more women participants in the economy. “The global economy may slow down” he said.

Tong mentioned that many countries are both partners as well as competitors. He mentioned about friends that are at the same time enemies. These two notions frequently coexist in our world now. Frenemy (or frenemies) is a person who pretends to be our friend but is in fact our enemy who prefers to be close to us all the time. At the outset it is friendship, but it actually is a competitive friendship.

About the debate between the US and China he said “when elephants fight, the grass beneath them suffers the most.” The solution he proposed is to encourage China to assume global roles. In this battle going on all the countries have a stake and we need to have a voice he said. And he raised that voice. He also reminded us that “if elephants make love, the grass beneath them also suffers. It is presumably best if they stay at arm’s length with each other.”

Taino Son is a Japanese entrepreneur investing in high tech start-ups. He has moved to Singapore. He made a futuristic presentation. He had pictures from the 5 th Avenue in New York both from1910 and 1913. In 1910 many carriages were passing from the 5 th Avenue and there was only one car. In 1913 all the passing vehicles were cars, except for one carriage. When the change starts it takes of us in. He implied that we are in such a change stage. The future of transportation will change so much that we won’t even need a car and the transportation will be free of charge. Also, resulting from this there will be no need for car parking areas. That is, neither will there be need for cars nor car parks. The deliveries will be with drones that can estimate the wind effect. We will have less traffic on the roads and deliveries will cost less. He had met with Jerry Yang, the founder of the search engine Yahoo at the university and since then he is investing in technology startups.

Larry Sanger, Chief Information Officer of Everipedia and the cofounder of Wikipedia and had a presentation. He believes that people who are users of social media don’t exert control over the social media. He says we use social media, but we don’t control our own data and we don’t dare to leave social media. Everipedia is decentralizing network on eOS. He believes we need to make open data standards, create reliable basis for publishing, reading and syndication tools and make existing networks compatible with each other.

Sanger is also advising that we as the people, who are customers or users, need to move toward a declaration of digital independence: People should declare their own independence. Everything doesn’t belong to social media. For this reason, he is proposing a social media strike: on July 4, 2019 which is the Independence Day of the US. “Let’s declare our independence from the social media. The higher the participation the more effective will the voice of people shall be” he says. He suggests that we just don’t use social media on July 4, 2019. He even has a proposal in a link in the web that people can look at called “wired” by Larry Sanger in proposing to people a declaration for digital independence.

AI decay and AI bias were discussed by the Vice President of IBM, Meenagi Venkat. If a customer in banking or an interviewee is rejected, AI models need to explain why that customer or interviewee was rejected. That would be more transparency in our world.

The panel of Bain & Company and their partners Thomas Shin and Jaems Root declared that habits of professionals need to change together with the changes that are undergoing in our environment. One good example is that R& D centers will go out for to seek innovation from small and independent teams or startups, instead of trying to do it in-house. The root to success seems to be start small and then rescale it.

Haruno Yoshida, the Co-Chair of 2019 Japan Presidency was among the speakers as well as Young Kim, the Former California Assembly Member of the US.

Final event was the Pitching Competition of Pitch@Place Korea 1.0. It was one of the best entrepreneurship recognitions that I have witnessed. The highlights, the presentations and the seeking were very well elaborated, and they were neatly short and clear. Pitch@Palace was founded by HRH The Duke of York, or as more widely known as Prince Andrew of Great Britain. The pitch successfully connects entrepreneurs and audiences across the world and encourages entrepreneurship and innovation.

The winner was Innomdle Lab of developing a technology that transmits electronic signals through the human body, allowing only users to hear what is said to them – or the sounds – with their fingertips or even open locked doors just by touching them. The pitch was in the group of wearable devices that will allow users to hear and interpret sounds.

Working in an electrical engineering company and having interest in healthcare, I very much believe that human body is an electrical transmitter.

Further, I convey all the best to all the pitches.

Published inArticles