What links Hong Kong and Zurich? Roast chestnuts, according to poet and literature scholar Leung Ping-kwan. In his poem, Roast Chestnuts in Zurich, he describes one of his stays in Zurich and the Swiss Marroni that reminded him of home. The late Leung Ping-kwan was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Zurich in 2012, a few months before his death. A cultural event in his honor took place at the Zürich meets Hong Kong festival. Andrea Riemenschnitter, professor of Chinese Studies at UZH, spoke at the public event about the cultural and intellectual relationship between the poet and the city of Zurich.
A long (and healthy) life
The visitors from UZH also found connections in other areas. For example, life expectancy in Hong Kong, as in Zurich, is very high – in fact, people in Hong Kong have the longest life expectancy in the world, closely followed by Switzerland. Academics from various disciplines at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and at UZH have been carrying out research into what makes for a healthy old age. At an event staged jointly with HKU, Edouard Battegay, Susan Mérillat, Florian Riese, Christina Röcke, and Bettina von Helversen of the University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging presented their research. 2020 to 2030 has been designated by the World Health Organization as the Decade of Healthy Aging, and the research being carried out by the team from UZH, HKU, and other universities is at the forefront of this global strategy.
The future of finance
As leading financial centers, both cities have an interest in future developments in banking and finance, in particular the new challenges posed by modern technology in financial transactions (the area of FinTech). Zurich researchers Thomas Puschmann, Florent Thouvenin, and Rolf H. Weber shared their expertise at several events, offering the Asian audiences the European perspective on FinTech. Legal aspects such as data protection and privacy were also areas on which the researchers were interested in exchanging views.
Summer schools for students
“The Zürich meets Hong Kong festival was a very good opportunity to make new contacts in Hong Kong and to strengthen existing connections,” was UZH President Michael Hengartner’s assessment of the visit to China. While there, Hengartner, together with Vice President Christian Schwarzenegger and the Dean of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics Harald Gall, met with various representatives of the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Polytechnic University. The aim of the meetings was to increase the opportunities for research collaboration and student exchanges, for example through summer schools.
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