Leaders Forum -
in East Asia
Hangzhou and Wuhan
April 19-23, 2004
Download this interactive registration form by clicking the button above and return it to us by e-mail to:
Click button below for details on the extended trip to Tibet:
See examples of past International Forum programs in the region by accessing those Agenda Books:
See a list of people who have been involved with the International Forum in East Asia as well as a selection of articles and readings:
Since 1994, The International Forum has been in China creating experiences for Leaders. This Leaders Forum in 2004 is about China and the East Asian region and its relationship with the rest of the world. It's unique feature is that it takes participants to witness first-hand the changes taking place in China and enables them to relate that to what they know or have already heard about China.
It is an on-the-ground experience which combines the rich content of The International Forum and its resource people in a week long encounter with people where they live and work - including: entrepreneurs, local company managers of foreign enterprises, doctors, teachers, students, village and town officials, artists, musicians, workers in State Owned Enterprises and those leading social initiatives.
This Traveling Forum is also an opportunity to learn from many different leaders (from many different cultures) and to share insights on some of the issues each faces professionally and personally in their role as leader.
It integrates history, art and culture with the economic, social and political agenda topics and looks at China and the region from this perspective.
This Forum will cover such themes as:
The Program begins in Shanghai early on the morning of April 19 and travels to Hangzhou in neighboring Zhejiang province. From there it moves to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, in the center of China on the Yangtze River. The program ends after dinner on April 23. For those not continuing on to Tibet, the Forum will return to Shanghai on the morning of April 24 in order to make connecting flights elsewhere.
April 19 - 20: Shanghai
In Shanghai, participants meet with business leaders and employees of foreign (American, German, French, Singaporean, Korean and Japanese) companies operating in China. It is an opportunity to learn face-to-face from people who have led organizations in China for at least the past 10 years and who have immersed themselves in Chinese culture. Their wealth of experience and insight provide a lens through which one can view some of the many changes taking place in China today. Young people from all over China have come to find work in Shanghai. Discussions with them reveal aspirations, frustrations, hopes and insight into China's future.
Shanghai experiences all the benefits and challenges of an exploding urban center. Meetings with people in hospitals, schools, social service organizations and the arts give participants insight into the changes taking place in the urban societies and the challenges facing education, healthcare, the elderly and the migrant population.
As the gateway to China and the city traditionally reserved for foreigners, Shanghai also provides the right setting to consider China's relationship with the region and the rest of the world. Of particular interest is its changing relationship with the US and what the possible scenarios for this might be for the future. China's domestic challenges including an aging population and rising unemployment as well as its increased need for energy sources will be discussed with experts and people involved with these issues on a day to day basis.
April 21-22: Hangzhou
Hangzhou, once the capital of the Southern Song dynasty, today is the site of one of China's best universities and hot bed for many of China's new entrepreneurs. The city provides an opportunity to experience China's growing "private" sector through meetings in companies with young entrepreneurs involved in software and technology development. Participants will speak directly with young business owners who have begun to expand globally in search of new ideas and markets. The "private sector" is also dominated by companies who have been transformed from state owned or town and village enterprises to semi private companies. Participants will meet with two leaders who have taken old and inefficient state companies and turned them around to now compete globally in manufacturing and retail.
Discussion with employees of some of these companies provides insight into management philosophies, approaches to creativity and an insatiable appetite to learn and to succeed.
This city also provides an opportunity to explore the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, particularly in combination with Western medicine. The principles of balance in life and health are discussed and experienced as participants have the opportunity to receive medical diagnoses and counseling from experienced doctors and pharmacists.
April 23: Wuhan
Considered to be at the center of China, where the Hanshui River meets the Yangtze River, it is the largest inland port in the middle section of the Yangtze and a major stop on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway. It is also part of China's "go west" initiative to bring economic development further into the interior. Surrounded on all sides by rich farmland, the city is slowly taking over rural areas as it expands and develops.
In Wuhan we meet with Chinese and foreign firms from biotechnology to automobiles. University students from all over China come to Wuhan to study at one of the 47 universities in this city and will speak frankly with us about their job prospects, their home towns and their views on China and its future.
Wuhan is home to many treasures in particular a collection of Bronze bells and musical instruments from the the Warring States period (482-221 BC). Viewed as part of the mandate of heaven, music played a key role in the moral development of the gentleman's character. The order established in music was presumed to be a model of Heaven's perfect harmony. The twelve note non-tempered scale that was created in China in 400BC is both a scientific and artistic wonder. Participants discover the secrets of this era not well known to many in the West.
The city also provides the site for a discussion of the ancient thought leader, Confucius, and how what he wrote over 2,000 years ago still has relevance to understanding China and Chinese culture today.
The villages surrounding Wuhan provide insight into China's changing rural landscape and the social challenges brought about by China's economic reform. How displaced farmers are finding alternate sources of livelihood and what their hopes are for their children are shared in informal talks with them.
Participants will meet the owner and employees of a small machine and die shop in the center of Wuhan, which hires laborers from surrounding villages and produces plastic components for export.
These face-to-face encounters with people from all parts of Chinese society, economy and leadership will be considered in an individual and group project for presentation and discussion on the final evening of the Forum.
We have selected China as the site for this next Leaders Forum for these reasons:
The Significance of the Greater China Economy
China has been the least affected so far by the slowdown in the world economy as it has its own strong internal market, which remains attractive, although somewhat enigmatic and allusive to foreign business.
Unique and Shared Challenges and Risks:
There are growing issues with China’s success including both political and social challenges.
China's re-emerging Civil Society and the Social Challenges:
The Natural Resources required for a Country of 1.4 Billion:
The Outlook for Political and Social Stability in China and the Region:
Japan - Why has it not yet recovered?
The "China Way"China’s system for doing business is deeply rooted in its history and culture. Its entrepreneurial companies, public companies, State Owned Enterprises, and banking system may seem like any other but their purpose and behavior is uniquely different than other systems. The means for acquiring capital, human talent and creating the structures needed to conduct business differ greatly from other economies in the world, particularly the West.
Foreign firms who assume that things in China are as they seem, do this at a cost.
The Global Company in East Asia
The forces of change and instability which influence business in China and the region and ultimately in the world are looked at first hand with individuals and foreign companies who have now been operating in the region for decades.
Resources for this Forum
This Forum draws leaders from global companies in Japan, Korea and South East Asia into small discussions in Shanghai. It also includes visits with many different types of leaders and individuals in reformed State Owned enterprises, private companies, other organizations, hospitals, schools, clinics as well as artists, musicians, farmers and migrant workers in the interior of China.
There are important themes to understand as one explores the future successes and challenges of China. The potential successes and challenges become clearer when one meets with the individuals who are integrally involved in the ways in which China is changing. There is much to be discovered in China that is also very relevant to our own worlds, at home, in business, in our communities, families and countries.
Read Recent Articles on China that relate to issues that will be covered at the Leaders Forum in China...
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times writes: "it's possible for China simultaneously to torture people and enrich them. Human and financial capital are growing and being deployed more sensibly, and a ferocious drive and work ethic are galvanizing even remote nooks like Gaoshan...China is on course eventually to recover its traditional pre-eminence. And just as China at its peak was blindsided by the rise of the West, we're likely to be blindsided by the rise of China." for more click here
John Thornhill, Financial Times writes: China's neighbours feel they have good reason to be wary of Beijing's growing power. For perhaps 18 of the past 20 centuries China has boasted the biggest economy in the world and still displays many of the reflexes and instincts of a hegemonic power. Many Chinese see the past two centuries of underdevelopment and colonial occupation as an embarrassing aberration that must be redressed. Home to the world's oldest and one of its richest civilisations, the argument goes, China must now regain its rightful place in the sun. For more click here