Learn more about the lecture series on the Global Conversation website.

Global Conversation: Exeter’s New Global Lecture Series

The University of Exeter has launched Global Conversation; a new international lecture series, showcasing some of the latest developments in world-leading research.

Global Conversation demonstrates how the University of Exeter, working in collaboration with its partners across the world, is having an impact on some of the greatest shared global challenges we face.

The inaugural events took place in Hong Kong and featured talks, given by leading University of Exeter academics, in dialogue with local partners and specialists in Hong Kong, who came together to debate, to question and to consider constructive responses to each topic.

Launching Global Conversation, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Sir Steve Smith said: “We want to share our thinking and our world-leading research, to open up discussion and debate around these issues. By stimulating conversation between our academics and other leading experts in their fields, we can make a positive contribution to our collective global understanding of issues which affect us all.”

The inaugural Global Conversation took place on Friday 20 March 2015, at the British Council, in Hong Kong. This event explored the theme of “Transforming Mental Healthcare Services in Hong Kong.” In this presentation, Professor Eugene Mullan and Professor Ed Watkins, together with Professor Patrick Leung of Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), explained how a pioneering new approach to the treatment of mental health care will help to reduce suffering and distress of those suffering from mental health issues in Hong Kong and how this new approach, has been developed through a strong partnership between Exeter and Chinese University Hong Kong.

Professor Mullan said: “Mental health is such an important issue today and our partnership with CUHK and the Clinical Education Development and Research (CEDAR) Programme is helping to tackle it. We’ve developed a suite of training and education options ranging from undergraduate through to doctorate level degrees to help train future healthcare leaders.”

The second Global Conversation took place on Monday 23 March 2015, at Asia Society, Hong Kong. The University of Exeter was honoured to be joined by Dr Christine Loh, OBE, Under Secretary for the Environment, for the Hong Kong Government, who formally opened this event and took part in the lively panel discussion which followed the key note speakers. Dr Loh joined Professor Savic, Professor Depledge, as well as Mr. SW Chau Chief Engineer/Development, Hong Kong Water Supplies Department, to answer audience questions on a panel discussion following presentations.

This event explored the topic of “Water in Asia: Threats and opportunities for Health and Wellbeing” and featured two fascinating presentations. The first presentation was on the topic of “Environment, Human Health and Water,” where Professor Michael Depledge, Director for the Centre of Environment and Human Health, at the University of Exeter Medical School, looked at how environmental change, impacts our health and wellbeing, and how “Blue Spaces” – lakes, rivers, and the sea – can promote health.

In the second presentation, “Water and World Security: A Need for Innovation and Collaboration in an Interconnected World.” Professor Dragan Savic, founder and co-Director of the Centre for Water Systems, an internationally-recognised group in water and environmental science research, explored the Water-Food-Energy Nexus (the interconnections between water, food and energy) and its serious implications for national security.

Professor Dragan Savic said: “Many billions of people on our planet are living without quality access to water, food and/or energy and this global demand is only set to increase. The need to better ways to understand and provide solutions for water engineering problems has never been greater, and our work at the Centre for Water Systems provides integrated assessment modelling of the water-food-energy nexus.”

Both events drew an audience of guests including leading academics from local and international institutions, local Government representatives, policy-makers, and non-profit organisations, as well as alumni and friends of the University of Exeter.

At the launch events in Hong Kong during March 2015, Professor Sir Steve Smith added: “Our ability to find solutions to world challenges – for example, disease, climate change, aging or security – will only come about by research intensive universities working together with partners wherever the best minds – and resources – reside. There is no one country, or university, that has the intellectual and financial resource to go it alone. So these events are not only a window on what Exeter’s scientists do, but show how they work with their counterparts, whether they are fellow academics or policy-makers, to tackle shared problems together. Crucially, these challenges are applicable to any part of the world.”

The next Global Conversation events scheduled for 2015, will take place in Paris, on 26 June and then in New York and San Francisco, in November, covering topics from Climate Change, to Dementia. To find out more about the Global Conversation international series and view upcoming events, please visit the Global Conversation website. You can also find the latest updates on the global series by following us on Twitter at @UoEGlobalConvo.


Date: 26 March 2015

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