Making his first public speech in Hong Kong, Mr. Peter MAURER, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, engaged in a dialogue with Prof. Wei SHYY, President of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, over the theme New horizons in humanitarian diplomacy: The power of new technologies and Asian Youths. The dialogue touched upon issues including the emergence of autonomous weapons, the power of new technologies on humanitarian work, and how Asian youths can make an impact amid Asia’s rise in the international arena. After the warm-up, the Presidents were joined by Dr. Simon SHEN – a high-profile international relations scholar with both local and international recognition, and Prof. Kellee TSAI, Dean of Humanities and Social Science as moderator, to further the discussion in a panel setting. To further deepen University members’ and the public’s understanding towards international humanitarian work, HKUST is also staging a three-day exhibition on the campus until tomorrow, showcasing innovations deployed or developed by ICRC for people who work in harsh and rough environments. Items on display include a new generation of prosthetic knee made to withstand the harsh environments of countries such as Afghanistan and South Soudan, which can be easily repaired and facilitates a range of movements including religious praying; and a cheap, easy-to-operate and powerful solar lamp which gives light without electricity. The lamp was also designed to charge mobile phones, which are the most empowering tool people have at their disposal when faced with a crisis. Visitors will also gain first-hand experience of the humanitarian crises happening right now on the other side of the planet – how life is like in an overcrowded prison or crossing a road full of snipers and bombardments, through virtual reality (VR) equipment used for training ICRC staff. Students from HKUST would be invited to contemplate factors to consider – such as users’ practical needs, when developing products and technology, and how their own skills and knowledge can be applied to humanitarian work. Selected student ambassadors will also help introduce these items to the visitors, as well as the scale and gravity of contemporary humanitarian disasters.
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