From the Dean

From the Dean

Professor Houmin Yan

People First - a viable goal?

"We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." These are the opening words of the 1946 UN Charter, and big picture aspirations suffuse the UN's work down to this day. Most recently, the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals outline a highly ambitious agenda for bringing prosperity and well-being to citizens, eradicating extreme poverty and saving the planet. But how viable are these kinds of aspirations?

In our opening article The United Nations, Sustainability and China: Connecting the dots Geoffrey Hamilton and Lu Xu of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe discuss the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) track record in Africa and Asia, and how we can move towards a future which indeed puts people first. Professor Yongheng Yang of Tsinghua University, then extends the discussion to China. People First in the PRC details challenges facing the development of PPPs in Belt and Road projects.

In terms of customer relations, Hong Kong's MTR is developing a gold standard of service based on a customer-centric vision. In Fast track to the sustainable city we talk to Dr Jacob Kam, MTR Managing Director of Operations and Mainland Business, about his company's success in expanding and operating rail franchises around the world, and beneficial urban development based on a variant of the PPP, the Rail plus Property model.

Financially, putting people first means promoting projects that are both socially beneficial and economically viable. This is the concern of Jenny Chow, Chief Compliance Officer of the United Nations Social Impact Fund, and EMBA learning partner. In Investing for Community and Social Impact , she discusses her work building investment platforms in Asia.

There is a lot of talk these days about adding value, and in a systemsdominated world this often means incremental upgrades. But throughout business history, flamboyant individuals have made a tremendous difference through vision and sheer force of personality. Dr Allan Zeman, serial innovator of Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong entertainment district and Ocean Park, recently gave a CityU MBA SHARP Forum. Read about his innovative approach in Give it that twist – The Allan Zeman take on life.

But which people come first? Hong Kong hides a paradox: despite the accession of the first female Chief Executive, women make up just 12% membership of company boards. Dr Mary Pang, Associate Dean of Internationalization, explores further in Women in leadership.

Educationally, putting people first ushers in a new era of people management. With soft communication skills much in demand, Dr Christina Sue-Chan and Dr Andy Kwan show how the Department of Management is Nurturing people-oriented talents through a redesigned BBA curriculum and a novel approach to career mentoring.

I do hope you enjoy this many-faceted exploration of the People First theme. What do you think? As global inequalities reach new levels, how far will international agencies such as the UN succeed in getting nations to put ordinary People First?

Houmin Yan