Speakers in the news 2nd March

1) J.B Straubel

  • J.B Straubel is currently the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and part of the founding team at Tesla Motors Inc. where he oversees the technical and engineering design of the vehicles. JB also has responsibility for new technology evaluation, R&D, technical diligence review of key vendors and partners, IP, and systems validation testing.
  • Tesla is reportedly building a small research and development office in Athens, Greece to develop new electric motor technologies. Several reports came out of Greece over the last few weeks about rumors of Tesla establishing a local presence in the country. The nature of the company’s presence was never clear since Greece is a market that Tesla has yet to officially enter. The company has said Greece has strong electric motor engineering talent and technical universities, offering tailored programs and specialized skills for electric motor technology.”

2) Keyu Jin

  • Dr. Keyu Jin is a Professor in the Economics Department at the London School of Economics (LSE) in London, and an advisor to the Chinese Government’s National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC) in Beijing. Keyu specialises in international macroeconomics, international finance, and the Chinese economy, and focuses her research on global imbalances and global asset prices, as well as international trade and growth. This research is tightly linked to examining various economic issues in China, with a particular interest in patterns of savings across different generations of consumers.
  • China is investing heavily in a number of countries as part of the initiative to build roads, railways, ports and oil and gas pipelines. In the UAE, Chinese companies are involved in the construction of a terminal at Khalifa Port and in the development of oil and gas fields in Abu Dhabi. Speaking at The Global Financial Markets Forum in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Keyu said, “Despite these economic projects which the recipient countries need, they are met with a lot of political resistance along the Belt road. It is shared economic benefits that China is really trying to push but unfortunately that has been misunderstood vastly and too frequently.”

3) Liz Nicholl

  • Liz Nicholl CBE is a British sports administrator and former netball player who has been chief executive of UK Sport since 2010. She has been called “the most powerful woman” in British sport.
  • Liz has hailed Great Britain’s Winter Olympics performance after a record medal haul in Pyeongchang. Great Britain won five medals in South Korea – one gold and four bronze – to reach UK Sport’s Games target. “This has been a hugely exciting Games for Team GB and the public at home, with more inspiring performances, podium places, near misses and top 10 finishes in a wide range of events,” she said.“National Lottery funding has enabled Britain to become more competitive across the spectrum of winter sports, with best ever results on snow and a first-ever men’s skeleton medal, as well as continuing our domination in the women’s skeleton.

4) Rohan Silva

  • Rohan Silva is the co-founder of Second Home, a social enterprise that supports creativity, entrepreneurship and job creation in cities around the world. Rohan was previously Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister, where he worked across all areas of policy, but was particularly passionate about enterprise, innovation and technology. He was responsible for developing key policies to improve the environment for enterprise in the UK, such as the Entrepreneur Visa, Entrepreneur Relief, angel investment tax breaks, the Government’s Open Data agenda, and the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property.
  • A new book makes the claim that human nature is getting better. New Atheist author Steven Pinker claims in ‘Enlightenment Now’ that the world is becoming more wonderful because human nature is constantly improving. His book was reviewed in The Guardian, which referred to it as a manifesto for progressives. The review criticised the author’s often dismissive approach and his unsubstantiated claims at times. It said: “With some deft intellectual moves, he manages to position ‘enlightenment’ and ‘science’ on the right side of every argument or conflict, while every horror of the past 200 years is put down to ignorance, irrationality or ‘counter-enlightenment’ trends.” Joining the discussion on BBC Radio 4, Rohan pointed to statistics to show declining global poverty, alongside rising literacy levels in Africa. He agrees with Pinker’s book that trade and technology have led to great advances around the world.However, Silva accepts technology can also “very much exacerbate the worst side” of humanity.

5) Leta Hong Fincher

  • Dr. Leta Hong Fincher is an award-winning former journalist, and author of the critically acclaimed book, “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China” (2014). As a journalist, Leta contributed to research on women and China’s economy and property market, which has been cited by many news organisations, including The Economist, New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Washington Post, Businessweek, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, TIME Magazine, BBC and CNN. Along with her successful career in journalism, Leta is also the first American to receive a Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
  • Leta Hong is gearing up to release her follow-up book Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China. The book tackles feminism and activism in a broader sense. In an interview with The Beijinger, Leta Hong was asked, ‘what would you say is the main message to be taken away from your new book?’ Leta responded, ”well, I don’t want to give it all away but one of the things that I write about is the importance of the detention of the Feminist Five in 2015. I followed them a lot and interviewed them and other core members of China’s feminist movement. The government launched this crackdown on feminist activism back then and that crackdown has continued to this day. I kind of analyze what it is that led up to that turning point. I also write a little bit about the history of feminism and revolution in China and what does it mean for China’s future. The rise of this new kind of political resistance in a form of feminist activism but also a broader awakening among women in China, particularly educated young women who are beginning to really stand up for their rights. You can see that expressed in the new #metoo movement as it develops in China with all of these largely female university students signing petitions to their universities demanding that they address the widespread problem of sexual harassment on campus, for example.”
Speakers We Admire