Swedish design and education: Prince Carl Philip in Hong Kong

On the 5-7 December, HRH Prince Carl Philip of Sweden visited Hong Kong together with two business delegations. The purpose of the visit was to promote Swedish business and raise Swedish interests in design and education. Sweden has a well-developed cooperation with Hong Kong when it comes to design and creativity, and the aim of HRH Prince Carl Philip’s visit was to further deepen these relationships.

Business Sweden hosted two business delegations during the visit; one of these consisted of representatives of Swedish companies participating in the Hong Kong Business of Design Week (BODW). The second delegation consisted of representatives from Swedish companies who are members of the Swedish Edtech Industry (EdTech).

Carl Philips’s visit began with a tour of Hong Kong together with Consul General Helena Storm, who presented the city and its history as well as Sweden’s interests and relations with Hong Kong.

After that, the Prince participated in a reception at the Swedish residence. Among the guests at the reception were representatives from the delegations.

The first day in Hong Kong ended with a dinner under the auspices of Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung. The focus for the dinner was education and among the participants were other Hong Kong government officials, the EdTech delegation and representatives from a number of Hong Kong university universities.

The Prince’s second day in Hong Kong began with a meeting with Swedish companies and Financial Secretary Paul Chan of the Hong Kong government. The meeting also included many Swedish and international companies operating in Hong Kong.

Then a visit to West Island School followed, a school run by the English Schools Foundation (ESF) offering international education in Hong Kong. The ESF consists of 22 schools with a total of 17,500 students from more than 60 different countries. During the visit, the Prince and the delegation were given access to their work on technology and digitization.

Edward Yau, Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development, hosted a lunch where the Prince participated together with Victor Lo, founder of the Hong Kong Business of Design Week (BoDW), representatives of the Hong Kong Design Center and representatives of Team Sweden in Hong Kong and Swedish Form (Svensk Form).

BODW seminar
HRH Prince Carl Philip attended the seminar ‘Cultivating a Future Mindset – Creative Leadership’, focusing on the characteristics, attributes and values of Future Mindset & Creative Leadership.

The Prince initiated the seminar and said: “Stockholm is second to Silicon Valley in terms of number of start-ups per capita in the world. This sector creates jobs and export revenues and there is a growing awareness that it is a factor to count on by its own power. It is people who create innovation – regardless of industry. It begins with people, their knowledge, curiosity and courage to test the new and unknown.

I have understood that Carrie Lam, Chief Executive, has identified the development of the creative industries as strategically important to Hong Kong. This point of contact between Hong Kong and Sweden is something I hope we will build on. Cooperation in creativity could create amazing future opportunities. ”

After that a panel debate followed, including, among others, Maria Lantz, Rector at Konstfack, creativity expert Tobias Degsell and Rasmus Rahm, CEO of the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship.

Closing the day the Prince attended as a guest of honour to a Gala Dinner organized by the Consulate General of Sweden and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. . Among the guests were also Princess Birgitta, as protector of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in Sweden, representatives of the business community in Hong Kong, Swedish companies and Swedcham members. The creative menu with strong Swedish influences had been designed by Swedish Michelin star chef Björn Frantzén.

The last day in Hong Kong began with a meeting with Hong Kong’s governor, Carrie Lam, who has a clear focus on making the city an international hub for cultural and creative industries.

The Prince and the delegation then went to Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, where around 600 companies operates. The delegation visited the Karolinska Institute‘s Ming Wai Lau Center for Reparative Medicine and the Gold Peak Design Center.

Carl Philip also visited Vocational Training Council (VTC), the largest government institute in Hong Kong offering vocational training and internship inter alia in the hotel and hospitality industry. During the visit to VTC, lunch was prepared on the theme ‘from farm to table’.

Inauguration of the Swedish Pavilion at DesignInspire BODW
A highlight was no doubt when Prince Carl Philip attended the inauguration of the Swedish pavilion at BODW. In the pavilion various Swedish companies were presented as well as the exhibition Ung Swedish Form; Evelina Kollberg, designer of Human Resources, and Karin Bodin who made The New Man and the Sea were in place and told about their works.

The Business of Design Week, organized by the Hong Kong Design Center, is an international conference with over 100,000 visitors and around 180 exhibitors from around the world. Sweden has on two occasions had the role as partner country under BoDW.

The Prince also attended the opening of the touring photo exhibition ‘Swedish Dads’. Consul General Helena Storm and Chairman of MTR Corporation Prof Frederick Ma inaugurated the exhibition at a well-known department store in Hong Kong – Elements. The photo exhibition is based on photographer Johan Bävman’s photographs of dads who are at home with their children. The starting point for the exhibition in Hong Kong is the fatherhood and our pursuit and identity in this regardless of class and nationality.

The photographer Johan Bävman portrayed 45 parental leave for two years, with quotes concerning their experience of becoming a parent. The project has been shown worldwide and laid the foundation for an important discussion and debate on gender equality.

The Hong Kong visit ended with a ‘Creative Talks’ (a new Swedish Hong Kong initiative) seminar held at METTA, a meeting point and platform where entrepreneurs from around the world can network. The seminar was about design and creativity, conducted in collaboration between the Consulate General, Business Sweden and the Chamber of Commerce’s Creative Swedes committee.

The main speaker was Jaan Orvet, design strategist at Boris Design Studio, who spoke on the topic ‘You and me? – Let’s design unexpected collaborations’.Then followed a panel discussion about ‘Fostering creativity in the future’. Moderator was Marie Claire Maxwell, Head of Technology and Startup Lead Asia Pacific, Business Sweden.

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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