George Town Conversation

The George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS) aims to bring international renowned experts to share their perspectives and experience on a wide range of issues that are of concern to the world and Malaysia.  Since January 2019, we attempt to bring people together to meet, network and share ideas through public conferences held at Homestead, the head-office campus of Wawasan Open University in Penang, Malaysia.

This year, a number of events were planned but were disrupted by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted international travel and events.  Since many social events cannot be held due to social distancing, GIOAS has decided that all events will now be presented online.   To launch these lectures and discussions, we announce a new series of George Town Conversations with leading academics and experts around the world via our online platform.  The broad theme of the George Town Conversations is to imagine the new post-COVID society, economy and educational system.

The George Town Conversations is now available on our GIOAS website and YouTube. George Town Conversations are master classes, presented in conversational rather lecture form, in order that we can hear from some of the top experts in their fields on how to think about the post-Covid society and economy.  By making their expert subjects as simple and integrative as possible, we hope to discuss different approaches on how to cope with the profound changes to society, economy and the educational field in the coming days.  The Conversations are moderated by Andrew Sheng, Chairman, George Town Institute for Open and Advanced Studies.

The first Conversation will be with Dr. Patrick Low, former Chief Economist of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Fellow, Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong.   Trade forms the core motor of the world.  World trade has been growing faster than world GDP growth.  But this has begun to change and trade has become badly affected by the pandemic.  How has COVID changed trade patterns?  What is the impact of US-China trade conflicts on global supply chains?  What is the future of WTO and the multilateral trade regime?   Dr. Low will also explain how services and technology, including new ideas such a tech platform for excess capacity exchange, could be game changers for the post-Covid trade.   

The forthcoming George Town Conversations will be with Dr. Daniel Brooks, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, John Pang, Bard College (USA), Dr. Lily Chan, Chief Executive & Vice Chancellor of Wawasan Open University (Penang, Malaysia), Dr. Hillary Brown, Professor of Architecture, City University of New York, Dr. Douglass Carmichael, Institute of New Economic Thinking, Professor Alexander Zehnder, ETH University, Zurich and many more.

For more Conversations, please visit our GIOAS website at and YouTube at for forthcoming events and Conversations. Your comments and views are most welcome.

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