Building bridges with mainland China, India and Hong Kong

As Asia Global Fellow 2019, Cecilia Milesi had the chance to engage directly with the protagonists shaping Asia’s future in a world which is, more than ever, leaning towards the Global South and East.

Direct experience, open dialogue and exposure are all paths towards a deeper understanding of the nuances of complex political and economic challenges, and geopolitical transformations. The invitation to live in Asia for three months was a unique opportunity for action-learning and networking. Through engaging in over a dozen meetings, study trips, conferences and lectures organised by the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong, the Asia Global Fellows gained a better understanding of China, Hong Kong and India’s socioeconomic and political models and policy proposals, as well as the immense challenges ahead.

The fellows discussed and reflected on the dilemmas and solutions that Asia offers around economic growth, development, respect/disrespect of freedoms and rights, climate change and sustaining peace. It is important to do this, as the world is confronted with an urgent need to find solutions to social problems. Cecilia is (critically) looking East.


The meetings in China were more business-oriented. We had the chance to visit and meet some of the most innovative and successful Chinese companies and banks including:

  • China Merchant Bank, Tencent, Alibaba, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Royole, StarTimes, Salubris Pharmaceuticals, DBS Bank China, Dentons, Noah Holdings, Meili Financial, Fung Explorium and others.

In most cases, we had the chance to directly engage in dialogue with founders, CEOS and Corporate Heads getting business insights and up-to-date information regarding business development including the China-USA trade war and digital working.

  • We met also with inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations including UNDP China, the Legal Center for NGOs and HK Economic and Trade Office. This provides the group with a balanced picture on various political dynamics involving China, Hong Kong and the region.


The meetings in India were more policy oriented. We directly enagaged and discussed with Senior Policy-makers from various governments departments, think-tanks and Institutes including:

  • Dr Rajiv Kumar is an Indian economist and is currently the vice chairman of the NITI Aayog, the policy think-tank of the Indian Government
  • Ms Nagma Mohammed Mallick, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • General Narasimhan (retired), Member of the National Security Advisory Board, India and Director General, Centre for Contemporary China Studies
  • Dr Pratap Bhanu Mehta is an Indian academic who was the president and chief executive of the Centre for Policy Research, a New Delhi-based think tank. He was the Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka University from July 2017 to July 2019,
  • Mr Divay Pranav is a Senior Associate Vice-President at Invest India, an entity under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, responsible for attracting and facilitating investments in India.
  • Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) is a public enigneering institution located in Hauz Khas, Delhi, India.
  • Ambassador Pankaj Saran is an Indian diplomat and a former officer in the Indian Foreign Service. He was appointed Deputy National Security Adviser of India in 2018.
  • Mr Anoop Singh is currently on the adjunct faculties at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and Georgetown University, Washington DC, and is an Academic Committee Member of the International Monetary Institute, Renmin University, China. He is also the full-time member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission which was constituted by the Government of India in 2017.
  • Mr Jairam Ramesh is an Indian economist and politician belonging to Congress Party. He is a Member of Parliament representing Karnataka state in the Council of States, and is a senior leader of the Indian National Congress.
  • The Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) is a think tank located in New Delhi, India. IDSA is a non-partisan think tank for advanced research in international relations, especially strategic and security issues, and providing training to civilian and military officers of the Indian government.
  • Apollo Hospitals was the forerunner of integrated healthcare in Asia, as well as globally. Today, the group’s futuristic vision has ensured that it has been in a position of strength at every touch point of the healthcare delivery chain.
  • Mr Anshu Gupta is an Indian social entrepreneur who founded Goonj, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) headquartered in Delhi. Mr Gupta started Goonj in 1999, to work on the basic need of clothing, an issue that does not have a place in the development agenda.



Como Asia Global Fellow 2019, Cecilia tuvo la oportunidad de interactuar directamente con los protagonistas que configuran el futuro de Asia en un mundo que, más que nunca, se inclina hacia el Sur y el Este Globales.

La experiencia directa, el diálogo abierto y las vivencias son caminos para comprender profundamente los complejos desafíos políticos y económicos y las transformaciones geopolíticas que enfrenta Asia y el mundo. La invitación a vivir durante tres meses en Asia fue una oportunidad única para el aprendizaje activo y la creación de redes. Mediante la participación en más de una docena de reuniones, viajes de estudio, conferencias y clases organizadas por el Asia Global Institute de la Universidad de Hong Kong, el grupo de Asia Global Fellows apreciaron mejor los modelos, políticas y propuestas socioeconómicas de China, Hong Kong e India.

Los becarios discutieron y reflexionaron directamente sobre los dilemas y las soluciones ofrecidas en torno al crecimiento económico, el desarrollo, el respeto / la falta de respeto de las libertades y los derechos de las personas, el cambio climático y el mantenimiento de la paz. Esto es importante ya que el mundo se enfrenta a la necesidad de encontrar rápidamente soluciones a graves problemas y conflictos sociales y ambientales. En este contexto, Cecilia está mirando (críticamente) al este.

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