Nearly fourteen years after the transfer of sovereignty to China, Hong Kong remains a global city of incredible dynamism, imprinted with a unique cultural heritage and geopolitical history as a site of encounters and exchange. Post-war growth has flourished to such an extent that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is commonly ranked among far larger regional economies such as those of South Korea and Taiwan. It has been named the freest economy in the world for seventeen consecutive years in the Index of Economic Freedom.
The ascent of contemporary China has thrust Hong Kong into a new role. Columbia University's symposium on "Hong Kong's Future in a Changing Asia" examines the economic, political, and social trends occurring in the Asian region and their impact on Hong Kong and on China at large. Columbia University is unparalleled in the comprehensive expertise and multilayered discourse offered by our faculty and scholars during more than a century of China studies and through ongoing engagement with China. Our China alumni have numbered among the region's influential statesmen, scientists, philosophers, and educators.
Contributing significantly to our understanding of modern East Asia for over 60 years, Columbia's Weatherhead East Asian Institute houses over 50 full-time faculty from Columbia's schools of Business, Law, International and Public Affairs, and Arts & Sciences. Our Hong Kong symposium brings together current faculty and University alumni with local business professionals, policymakers, and academics to discuss this global city's position within the rapidly shifting regional and international context.
In recent years, the Weatherhead East Asian Institute has hosted a number of core programs on Hong Kong that have examined the SAR's financial, political and social development, featuring Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang; former Chief Executive C.H. Tung; current and former LegCo members Margaret Ng and Martin Lee; as well as distinguished scholars Deborah Davis, Helen Siu, and James and Rubie Watson.
This year's Hong Kong symposium represents a continuity of Columbia University's interests in the region and our commitment to engaging East Asia in contexts ranging from local to global. We look forward to hosting an open forum for discussion and debate on May 22.