Attending the East Asia Economic Summit, Part 1—Schedule

I am currently in Singapore, where I am attending the East Asia Economic Summit, which is organized by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the same organization that operates the Davos Forum.

At this forum, the long-awaited New Asian Leaders (NAL) would be officially announced.

This trip was of particular significance. There's so much I want to say that I don't know where to begin, so I'll start out describing how I spent my time.

Here is a summary of my schedule.

October 10th (Friday)
· NAL Executive Board Informal Dinner

October 11th (Saturday)
· NAL Executive Board Meeting
(I'm leaving out the details, which can be reviewed in my previous column)

· Official NAL retreat started
We moved to Raffles Hotel by bus. A few more than 20 people attended this event.

· Dinner attended by Singapore Cabinet Minister George Yeo, Philippine Minister of Agriculture, and the president of CCL, an American nonprofit educational institution.
I was deeply impacted by Mr. George Yeo's speech and depth of insight.

October 12th (Sunday)
· NAL Gathering
I served as a facilitator. Discussions focused on the future of Asia in terms of these five issues:

1. Education
2. Poverty
3. Technology
4. Economic Integration
5. Politics

I am used to serving as facilitator for GLOBIS classes, so I got through OK.

· Start of the East Asia Economic Summit, organized by the WEF. 
At a gathering of some 600 people, the Singapore Minister of Defense delivered the opening remarks, followed by a luncheon, which was a stand-up affair to allow people to network.

· The conference host led a review of the past year
Mr. Kitashiro from the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) participated as a panelist (calmly explaining Japan's economic recovery)

· Economic Outlook
Moderated by Mr. Ujiie, Chairman of Nomura Holdings, with panelists including Cabinet Minister Heizo Takenaka. Minister Takenaka is perfect for this role. His English is very good, he is quick and concise as well. Most questions, as you might expect, were directed to Mr. Takenaka.

· The role of ASEAN
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen took to the stage.

· NAL Private Session with Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong
Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong was kind enough to make time to attend a Q&A session with the 20 NAL members. I sat right in front of the Prime Minister and asked a question.

· Dinner attended by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong
There was an after-dinner speech.
I had been at dinner with investors in my VC fund, so I arrived late.

Classical concert (Singapore Chinese Orchestra)

· Cocktail Party hosted by GLOBIS
There was an after-dinner speech.
This cocktail party was titled, "Meet the New Asian Leaders," and Asian leaders came to meet with young people. About 80 people kindly participated. There was a no-tie rule, and we had even asked WEF founder Professor Klaus Schwab to take off his tie.
The day finished with the party in full swing.

October 13th (Monday)
· NAL Executive Board Meeting

I arrived late at the Japan Session, but the venue was packed. Interest in Japan was rising, perhaps because of the effectiveness of Minister Heizo Takenaka's speech, and the place was overflowing with enthusiasm. The session began after lunch as coffee was served.

Mr. Tomohiko Taniguchi (Editorial board member of Nikkei Business) served as a moderator and set the style by first introducing the speakers, who came onto the stage one at a time, and gave a speech. I was impressed by the confidence displayed by everyone as they explained the current situation in Japan in flawless English.

The speakers: 
Prof. Motoshige Ito, Professor, Tokyo University
Mr. Yoshimasa Hayashi, Councillor, House of Representatives
Mr. Kakutaro Kitashiro, Chairman, Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives)
Jesper Koll, Chief Economist of Morgan Stanley 
and others

The content was fascinating. Here's a summary of what was said:

"The Japanese economy is on an upward trend. This is the third phase of the economic expansion since the bubble. This time, it is steadily recovering without depending on public spending as a fiscal stimulus. Corporate profits are at an all-time high and bad debts are decreasing. M&A activity is proceeding briskly. The only concern is the high value of the yen. Nevertheless, conditions can be expected to remain good over the next two or three years."

After a long period without, there was so much good news from Japan.

· Session on Human Resources
Participants included Singapore Minister of Education, CCL President, and a professor from INSEAD

· One of the highlights of this event, a speech by the Senior Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew

· Networking Dinner
I narrowed my attention on people I wanted to talk to and managed to spend a significant amount of time speaking with them. It appears I can look forward to a lot of new business based on these conversations.

· Bus to hotel

October 14th (Tuesday)
· NAL Session with the King of Jordan (details will follow in the next column)

· Arrived late at the China Session
The talk by the Mayor of Taipei was interesting.

· Closing Session

· Networking Lunch

I returned to my room, replied to some emails, had a swim and I'm now writing this column.

Tomorrow, I will be calling on four different companies to give a presentation to investors on our venture capital fund. I'll be on the 10:30 pm flight back to Japan tomorrow night.

This has been a three-day holiday in Japan, but in the end I hardly took any time off. I have no regrets; it's been a valuable trip that has given me much to experience and think about. In my next column, I will write more on the nitty gritty of what went on.

In Singapore.

Mr. Yoshito Hori established GLOBIS Management School in 1992 and GLOBIS Capital Partners in 1996. In 2003, GLOBIS started its original MBA program which, in 2006, received accreditation from the Japanese Ministry of Education and gained “university” status. GLOBIS started a part-time MBA program in English in 2009 and a full-time MBA program in English in 2012.

A Harvard MBA graduate and former Sumitomo Corporation employee, Mr. Hori founded the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Japan Chapter in 1995 and became the first board member from Asia in charge of Asia Pacific region in 1996. He also served on the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s New Asian Leaders Executive Committee and Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership, as well as the Harvard Business School Alumni Board from 2005 to 2008. Currently, Mr. Hori is a board member of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), and serves as co-chair of WEF’s Global Growth Companies.

In 2008, he launched the G1 Summit – a Japanese version of the WEF’s annual Davos forum. This led to the foundation of G1 Summit Institute in 2013, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

Just days after a huge earthquake struck northeast Japan in March 2011, Mr. Hori launched Project KIBOW to support the rebuilding of the disaster-affected areas. The following year Project KIBOW was incorporated as the KIBOW Foundation, which Mr. Hori serves as Representative Director.

An avid enthusiast of the Japanese game Go since age 40, Mr. Hori has been Director of the Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association) since June 2013.

Since October 2013, Mr. Hori has hosted a weekly TV program in Japan called Nippon Mirai Kaigi (Japan Future Conference). He has authored several books including Visionary Leaders who Create and Innovate Societies, Six Dimensions of Life, and My Personal Mission Statement.

Mr. Hori received his BS in Engineering from Kyoto University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

He is an avid swimmer and enjoys spending time with his family, especially his five sons.

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