Annual Presidents' Meeting 2023

The negative impact of humanity on our planet has reached a critical point. The boundaries of what our earth’s natural system can absorb are at risk to be crossed irreversibly. At the same time, the globe’s human population of eight billion people, many of whom are endangered by poverty, inequalities, armed conflicts, and climate change, needs innovative solutions for a sustainable future – a future that balances the needs of humanity and the protection of our planet. This cannot be done by any nation alone but requires concerted effort by all of us.

Under the theme “From Invention to Implementation: Solutions for a Sustainable Future”, presidents and senior administrators will explore the state of the planet, from threats to opportunities. They will share innovative thoughts about the goals we need to reach (such as carbon neutrality) and the solutions that allow us to reach them (such as green technologies). They will strive for a concerted effort from individuals, businesses, and governments to make these solutions a reality and to bring us closer to a sustainable future for humanity.


Meeting Program* (as of May 16, 2023)

June 25 (Sunday)  
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Arrival and Registration

Conference Hotel: Island Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong  

2:00 p.m – 3:30 p.m.

Steering Committee Meeting (for Steering Committee Members)

Venue: Meeting Room, Island Shangri-La

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Welcome Reception

  • Formal meet and greet by President and Vice-Chancellor Xiang ZHANG, The University of Hong Kong and UCLA Chancellor Gene BLOCK, APRU Chair
  • Welcome of new APRU member and new presidents


June 26 (Monday)  
9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.

Session I – Opening Session

Opening Remarks by:

  • President and Vice-Chancellor Xiang ZHANG, The University of Hong Kong
  • Chancellor Gene BLOCK, UCLA and APRU Chair
9:20 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Session II – Keynote Address 

  • Keynote speakers to be annouced
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


2:00 p.m – 3:15 p.m.

Session III – Panel Discussion

Topic: Our Planet, Our Future

Our planet is undergoing rapid change – from accelerating climate change and ongoing geopolitical tensions through the challenges of economic, demographic, and digital transformations, to the recent world-wide havoc of the Covid pandemic. The global outlook is now vastly different from what it was in the past decade, with wide-spread concern whether these disruptive changes will still allow us to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. 

As we are half-way through achieving the sustainable development goals of 2030, what are the urgent issues that now require ambitious action? Do we perceive and assess these problems differently from before? And how can research universities fulfil their social responsibility of communicating and creating solutions to achieve sustainable growth?

3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Coffee Break

3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Session IV – Panel Discussion

Topic: Unleash Green Technologies to Power the Future

The acceleration of climate change has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, causing increasingly dangerous impact on nature, people and built infrastructure in every region of the world. These events have also significant economic consequences. The urge for fostering research on low-emission energy production and green technologies apt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to mitigate the effects of human-caused climate change has never been stronger.

What roles do research universities play in facilitating research and discovery across disciplines? How should we incubate innovative technologies and support their growth? How can we unlock the potential of new innovations and leverage them, so they create long-lasting impact? How will we best foster public-private partnerships in this area?

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Gala Dinner


June 27 (Tuesday)  
9:00 a.m. – 10: 25 a.m.

Opening of Day 3

Session IV – Panel Discussion

Topic: Educating Future Generations for Planet Thought Leadership

The rapid changes our planet is undergoing underscore the importance of swift and collective action. At the same time, they also require foresight and long-term planning. Higher education plays a key role not only in providing research-based solutions for today, but also in training future generations. It is the indisputable responsibility of universities, in the face of these unprecedented circumstances, to prepare students so they assume the leadership in addressing the planetary challenges.

How can higher education equip students with the mindset, the knowledge, and the skills to be change-makers? What can be done to raise the overall awareness of these core values and abilities? Amidst the widening digital divide and social disparity, how can we provide equitable and inclusive education opportunities to all?

10:25 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:40 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.

Session V – Panel Discussion

Topic: Systems Approach to Mitigating Globally Connected Risks

The threats posed by the climate emergency, the loss of biodiversity, pollution and other planetary challenges transcend national borders and social boundaries. The failure of major stakeholders to collaborate and to take decisive action threatens human existence. At the same time, as emphasized by climate justice, those countries that have been the largest emitters of carbon emissions have the greatest responsibility to help those countries that, while not having been large emitters, will suffer first and worst from the climate emergency. It is crucial to enhance understanding and communication of the complexity of the issues involved, and to hold those who cause climate change accountable.

As the key institutions of knowledge creation and knowledge transfer, what role do universities have in educating and communicating about the planetary risks? How well do they draw the roadmap of resilience building? How can we ensure that these plans are comprehensive and equitable, and that there is a shared understanding of the agenda among stakeholders? What can we learn from others when developing a systematic approach to mitigating the consequences of intertwined global risks?

11:55 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Session VI – Concluding Session

12:10 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Session VII – Business Meeting

  • Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2022
  • Chief Executive’s Report
  • Election of Steering Committee 2023
  • Invitation to APEC University Leaders’ Forum 2023
  • Invitation to Annual Presidents’ Meeting 2024
12:30 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Concluding Remarks

12:50 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

Farewell Lunch

2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Walking Tour and Vintage Tram Ride (optional)

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Steering Committee Meeting (for Steering Committee Members)

Venue: Meeting Room, Island Shangri-La

*Program is subject to change.


  • Registration for the Annual Presidents’ Meeting 2023 has closed. Please contact Ms. Elaine Hung at [email protected] if you have any enquiries. 

Recommended Hotel

  • Click here for information on the recommended hotel and reservation. 

Ms Elaine Hung, Director, Events & Relations, APRU

Email: [email protected]