Event Details

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 

[In-person] Jockey Club Hall, Asia Society Hong Kong Center  


12:00 Registration 

12:30 Welcoming Remarks 

12:35 Lunch 

13:10 Opening Remarks 

13:15 Fireside Chat 

13:35 Q&A with Audience 

13:55 Closing Remarks 

14:00 End 


ASHK Members and Harvard University Alumni: HKD 580 

Non-Member Ticket: HKD 680 



Asia Society Hong Kong Center is proud to present a luncheon discussion with William C. Kirby, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.  


In his latest book, Empires of Ideas: Creating the Modern University from Germany to America to China, Professor Kirby explores the development of modern research universities from the model set by German institutions to the dominance of American universities in global rankings to the emergence of Chinese universities in prominence and esteem. In conversation with Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman of Asia Society Hong Kong center, Mr. Kirby will consider what has made US universities so successful, how China's universities have become innovative institutions, and whether their respective successes can continue in view of the challenges they face. 

Dec 12, 2023

12:15 PM - 2:00 PM (GMT+8)

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The Hong Kong Jockey Club Hall, Asia Society Hong Kong Center
Justice Drive 9
Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong SAR (China)

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About Empire of Ideas:

Today American institutions dominate nearly every major ranking of global universities. Yet in historical terms, America's preeminence is relatively new, and there is no reason to assume that U.S. schools will continue to lead the world a century from now. Indeed, America's supremacy in higher education is under great stress, particularly at its public universities. At the same time Chinese universities are on the ascent. Thirty years ago, Chinese institutions were reopening after the catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution; today they are some of the most innovative educational centers in the world. Will China threaten American primacy?

Empires of Ideas looks to the past two hundred years for answers, chronicling two revolutions in higher education: the birth of the research university and its integration with the liberal education model. William C. Kirby examines the successes of leading universities—The University of Berlin and the Free University of Berlin in Germany; Harvard, Duke, and the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States—to determine how they rose to prominence and what threats they currently face. Kirby draws illuminating comparisons to the trajectories of three Chinese contenders: Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, and the University of Hong Kong, which aim to be world-class institutions that can compete with the best the United States and Europe have to offer.

But Chinese institutions also face obstacles. Kirby analyzes the challenges that Chinese academic leaders must confront: reinvesting in undergraduate teaching, developing new models of funding, and navigating a political system that may undermine a true commitment to free inquiry and academic excellence.

Buy a copy of Empire of Ideas from our store.


  • William C. Kirby (T. M. Chang Professor,  Harvard University; Spangler Family Professor, Harvard Business School)

    William C. Kirby

    T. M. Chang Professor, Harvard University; Spangler Family Professor, Harvard Business School

    Read Bio
  • Ronnie C. Chan (Chairman, Asia Society Hong Kong Center)

    Ronnie C. Chan

    Chairman, Asia Society Hong Kong Center

    Read Bio

3-Course Set Lunch Menu

3-Course Set Lunch

Regular Menu

Baby Gem & Prosciutto

Bocconcini, Cherry Tomato, Honey Mustard Dressing


Roasted Scotch Salmon Fillet

Curry Couscous, Broccolini, Garlic Aioli


Chocolate Brownies

Served with Honey Mascarpone, Macaron, Vanilla Sauce

Vegetarian Menu

Baby Gem & Fennel Salad

Orange, Radish, Cherry Tomato, Cucumber, Citrus Dressing


Wild Mushroom Risotto

U.S. Kale, Mascarpone, Grana Padano


Chocolate Brownies

Served with Honey Mascarpone, Macaron, Vanilla Sauce

Tickets Register

ASHK members Tickets
Member Price HKD 580
Non-Members Ticket
HKD 680

Table Ticket

For buying more than 6 tickets, please contact with ASHK Program Team



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