A Greener Future: Let’s All Step Up
A GBA Youth Forum co-hosted by
Lingnan University and Shenzhen University

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The Hong Kong Lingnan University and Shenzhen University jointly hosted the inaugural GBA Youth Forum on 15 May 2023, with the theme "A Greener Future: Let's All Step Up". The objectives were to enhance young people's understanding of and interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG), green financial technology, culture, and innovation, thereby fostering the sustainable development of society. The forum also aimed to encourage them to grasp the opportunities available in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) to launch their start-ups. Partnering with Tencent Games and Fusion Bank, the one-day forum was held on the campus of Lingnan University, with live broadcasts. Over 30 leaders from political, commercial, industry, academic, and research sectors attended the event and shared their perspectives and insights on topics related to the theme. More than 400 teaching staff and students from secondary schools and universities, government officials, representatives from various industries, and entrepreneurs from the two places attended the forum, making the sharings and discussions stimulating and fruitful. Following the success of this inaugural Forum, Lingnan University plans to host the second GBA Youth Forum in the fall of this year.

The opening ceremony of the Forum was held in the morning and officiated by Mr Clarence Leung Wang-ching, Under-Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Mr Song Lai, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Youth Affairs of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, Professor Leonard K Cheng, President of Lingnan University, Dr Jim Lai, Chairman of GBA Youth Forum Organising Committee, Chairman of Fusion Bank, and Council member of Lingnan University, and Prof Zhang Xueji, Vice President of Shenzhen University.

In his welcoming address, Dr Jim Lai expressed his support for the Central Government's policy, stating that the GBA attached paramount importance to a green future and ESG. He hoped that Hong Kong and the GBA could work together to foster the sustainable development of both places. Mr Clarence Leung, on the other hand, hoped that the young people could deepen their understanding of the GBA and grasp the opportunities available there to develop green businesses. Recognizing the need for creative and innovative talents in developing a green future, Prof Zhang Xueji said that Shenzhen University and Lingnan University would work closely together in nurturing talents. Professor Leonard K Cheng was delighted with the overwhelming responses to the Forum and believed that the discussions at various sessions would provide inspiration for the green future of the GBA.

In the morning, there were two keynote talks. The first talk, themed "Upholding Green Initiatives: Empowering Youth for a Sustainable Future," was conducted by Dr Jim Lai and Mr Zhu Yinan, Director of Tencent Institute of Games. Dr Lai encouraged students to dare to try and explore development opportunities in the GBA while contributing to the country's development. The theme for the second talk was "Implementing the Concept of Sustainable Development: Green AI Empowered ESG Practice and Progress." The talk was conducted by Professor Niu Ben, Deputy Dean of the College of Management, Shenzhen University; Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education Committee, Shenzhen University; and Deputy Dean of the Greater Bay Area International Institute for Innovations.

After two thought-provoking talks, Lingnan University hosted a networking lunch with a total of 40 tables. Each table had industry representatives and entrepreneurs with start-up experiences, as well as students from Lingnan University and Shenzhen University. The students actively participated in the discussion over lunch and greatly benefited from it.

In the afternoon, two more panel discussions were held, with the themes of "How Enterprises and Youths Jointly Build the Country's New Green Future" and "What Will Be Our Next Step? - Entrepreneurship as an ESG Strategy". Additionally, there were three breakout sessions covering the topics of (1) Green Skills for a Sustainable Future: Career Attributes Relevant to Youth; (2) Sustainable Entrepreneurship Development; and (3) Bearing Corporate Social Responsibility. Leading the discussions were representatives from various sectors, including the HKSAR Government's Environmental and Ecology Bureau, banks, transportation, real estate, culture, and social enterprises. They had very constructive exchanges, and the attendees were provided with a lot of useful advice and information.

During the forum, Lingnan University also held an award ceremony for the Green Campus Proposal Competition. The competition aimed to encourage Lingnan students and staff members to provide innovative proposals for the development of a green campus. The University selected 10 winners from numerous entries and awarded five consolation prizes. The award ceremony was hosted by Professor Joshua Mok, Vice President of Lingnan University.

To promote entrepreneurship among students and enhance their awareness of ESG, Lingnan University encourages students and alumni to apply for the Lingnan Entrepreneurship Fund to launch ESG-related start-ups. Teams consisting of Lingnan students or a Lingnan alumnus who graduated within the last 10 years are invited to apply for funding support with an ESG-related business proposal. If the proposal is approved, they can receive a subsidy of up to HKD 500,000.

Programme book