Great minds attracted to G20 Brisbane Global Cafe

BRISBANE has attracted a rich array of technology pioneers, scientists, entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors and new-world thinkers to its major curtain-raiser event ahead of the G20 Leaders Summit in November.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the Brisbane Global Cafe would boost’s the city’s status as the “capital of the world” during the G20 week in November.

Speaking at the official launch of the Brisbane Global Cafe, Cr Quirk said the event at Brisbane City Hall on November 12-13 was attracting some of the world’s most exceptional and influential thinkers as well as support from global media organisations and corporations. 

“It’s a bold concept and a first for a G20 host city,” Cr Quirk said.

“With the leaders of the world’s major nations and their support teams, the international media and the Global Cafe in Brisbane, we have an unprecedented opportunity.

“I have repeatedly emphasised that, to attract investment, students, skills and talent, business meetings and tourists, Brisbane has to be on the radar around the globe.

“The Global Cafe will help us extend ‘Team Brisbane’ to a broader audience of influencers and advocates and give our local business, government and academic community access to progressive thinking from around the world.

“The event will also attract hundreds of participants and help drive business for local hotels, restaurants and retail businesses.”

Cr Quirk last week announced five high-profile identities had been appointed as Brisbane Global Cafe Chairs to steer the conversations: Brisbane cervical cancer vaccine pioneer Professor Ian Frazer; national tourism identity Christopher Brown; UK-based advisor for cities and business Greg Clark; CSIRO executive Dr Alex Wonhas; and international entrepreneurial leadership and business growth expert Dr Jana Matthews.

“I’d also like to recognise the contribution of the co-chairs, CEO of QIMR Berghofer Prof. Frank Gannon, regional director Pacific for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chris Flynn, and CEO of the International Energy Centre Tim McLennan,” he said.

Cr Quirk has announced the first group of speakers for the Global Café and, he said, more high-profile speaker names would be announced in coming weeks.

“The G20 will be the largest gathering of world leaders Australia has ever hosted and it’s a once-in-a-generation chance for Brisbane to step up and take its place among the emerging new world cities of the 21st century,” Cr Quirk said.

“The Global Cafe, led by economic development board Brisbane Marketing, has attracted phenomenal interest from both world-leading speakers and corporate partners including global media organisations BBC World News and Bloomberg.

“While the program is still being finalised, I can reveal confirmed international speakers will include Chinese business leader Xu Weiping; renowned biochemist Professor Christopher Leaver from Oxford University; US demographer Alan Berube; Chinese digital media mogul Liu Shengyi from Tencent; Israeli digital entrepreneurGadi Mazor; and Thai retail developer Chadatip Chutrakul of Siam Piwat.

“Locally, the line-up includes cochlear implant pioneer Prof. Robert Shepherd, who is leading the development of a bionic eye; chairman of Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism, Djawa Burarrwanga;intensive care medicine director at Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital (RBWH) Prof. Jeffrey Lipman; antibiotic-resistant bacteria researcher Prof. David Paterson and Young Australian of the Year 2012 and founder of 2Mar Robotics, Marita Cheng.”

Cr Quirk said the program would feature about 70 speakers – many of whom will also be engaging with local businesses while here – with up to 1000 people in the audience, including a large media contingent.

“I am also pleased to announce that the event will be live-streamed online and broadcast in King George Square as well as covered by local and global media outlets,” Cr Quirk said.

The event would explore important issues around improving human life, developing cities that match future needs, powering the future economy, unlocking the opportunities of the digital age and exploring the emerging frontiers of tourism.

“The November event will be the highlight but the Global Cafe also includes a website rich with thought-provoking content aimed at generating discussion as well as a series of events (leading up to November) and an online information and discussion forum,” he said.

“Anyone interested in participating or attending the Brisbane Global Cafe event can register their interest on the global cafe website.”

 “While the official Brisbane G20 summit will focus on achieving stronger economic and employment growth and dealing with future economic shocks, the global cafe will add a new dimension to the G20 summit.

“It’s a first for a G20 host city and I hope the concept will be adopted by other G20 host cities in the future,” Cr Quirk said.

Brisbane Marketing CEO, John Aitken, said international and Australian media, industry thought-leaders, business leaders, academia, and individuals with a particular interest in one or more of the themes would be encouraged to take part.

“This program has been a specifically-targeted global outreach of people we’d like to include in the Brisbane story going forward,” Mr Aitken said.

“We will be seeking to continue to work collaboratively with them to create investment opportunities that build Brisbane’s future as an emerging global city and a major player in the Asia Pacific.”



Brisbane Airport Corporation * Peabody Energy * Ergon Energy * Tourism Events Queensland * Energex * Bloomberg * BBC World News * The Courier-MailBrisbane Times4BC * Port of Brisbane * Singapore Airlines * Virgin Australia * South East Queensland Council of Mayors * BMW Alphabet * Tritium * Datacom * Cisco * University of Queensland * QUT * Griffith University * Pacific Asia Travel Association * QIMR Berghofer * TRI * CSIRO * International Energy Centre.


Liu Shengyi is senior executive vice president of Tencent and president of its Online Media Group which has become the definitive leader in the online media space. In 2011, Mr Liu was recognised as one of The World’s 21 Most Influential People in Marketing and Media by New York-based Advertising Age.

Xu Weiping is chairman of ABP (China Holding), a wholly-owned investment group of Dauphin Holdings Group Co Ltd in the Asia-Pacific region, dedicated to researching, exploring and practicing Headquarters Economic Theory. In 2003, ABP Beijing became the first demonstration zone of the Headquarters Economy in China. The demonstration zone was based on the principles of unified planning, construction and investment to create a complex aggregating office, research, pre-production and industry and optimising talent, capital, technology, information and funding to drive economic growth. The concept is now being expanded to other markets.

Kong Linglong is a former Director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission Department of Foreign Capital and Overseas Investment and is regarded as a leading expert on Chinese investment. He played a senior role in developing and implementing China’s national investment policies and his department was responsible for approving international investment projects of significance.

Hu Weiping is former Deputy Director-General of China’s National Development and Reform Commission National Energy Administration.  In his former role, Mr Hu was one of China’s most senior leaders responsible for approval of major resource deals and speaks with great authority on the future focus of China’s resources sector.

Alan Berube is senior fellow and deputy director at Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in the US. He coordinates the program’s research agenda, including for its Global Cities Initiative, and has authored publications on topics including metropolitan demographic and economic trends, social policies affecting low-income families and communities, and cities in the global economy.

Andrew Boraine has been involved in South Africa’s local government, urban and economic development and transition processes for the past 36 years, as activist, advisor, negotiator, government planner, city manager, chief executive, facilitator, communicator, writer and photographer. Mr Boraine is CEO of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, a collaborative intermediary organisation that promotes regional economic development and job creation. He is adjunct professor at the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Chris Whelan is the CEO of business think tank Accelerate Cape Town. He is a management consultant and business strategist who specialises in the use of systems thinking, scenario planning and foresight development in performance improvement.

Jordi William Carnes is CEO of Turisme de Barcelona and president of the board for Technology Foundation Circle of Catalonia Foundation. 

Rosemary Feenan, a former urban planner and market strategist, is an international director at JLL heading research on how global trends are impacting cities and their real estate and how they are changing the way we live, work and shop. Her World Winning Cities research series has, for over a decade, identified the next generation of rising urban stars and covered urban futures in cities across Asia Pacific, the UAE and North America.

Li Cunxin, artistic director of Queensland Ballet, is renowned for his internationally best-selling biography Mao’s Last Dancer which received numerous awards and was adapted as a feature film in 2009.  He has worked in the finance industry and has a long and diverse career as an internationally-acclaimed dancer after being selected at the age of 11 to attend the Beijing Dance Academy.  He was Queensland’s Australian of the Year 2014.

Stefan Hajkowicz leads CSIRO Futures - a diverse portfolio of projects to examine future trends and assist planning by government, industry and community.  Dr Hajkowicz’s work has influenced policy relating to Australia’s Murray Darling Basin, the Great Barrier Reef, the Swan and Canning River Estuary and other environmental assets.  His economic and geographic analyses have informed environmental and social policy in Niue, the Cook Islands, Palau and Egypt.  

Patrick McVeigh, general manager for economic growth at Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development, has led the development of economic, employment and innovation strategies for a wide range of clients across the United Kingdom. He also led the preparation of London’s Economic Development Strategy during his time with the London Development Agency.

Mateu Hernández is the CEO of Barcelona Global and was formerly the CEO of the Economic Development Agency of the City of Barcelona.  He has designed and implemented policies to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Barcelona.  He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the 4th New York Strategic Plan, secretary of the International Advisory Board of the Smart Cities Expo and Congress, regularly advises economic development and strategic plans for cities and is senior advisor of SONAR, the advanced music and technology festival. 

Rick Antonson is a former CEO of Tourism Vancouver, an award-winning business innovator and author and has served as: board chair of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) based in Washington, DC; deputy chair of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) based in Bangkok and  ambassador for the 2010 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games held in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada. He was a founding board member of the Canadian Tourism Commission and a founder of the international marketing alliance Best Cities.  He believestravel is a vital force for peace, breaking down barriers to understanding and celebrating our differences.

John Morse is former managing director of Tourism Australia with 35 years experience in the industry. He has worked extensively in the past decade with Aboriginal people and communities across Australia to develop Indigenous tourism. He co-authored landmark report Walking To The Future for Kakadu National Park and was awarded an Order of Australia in 2003 for services to tourism and the development of indigenous tourism.

Djawa Burarrwanga is chairman of Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism and sits on several North East Arnhem Land corporation and association boards and is a member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal people. He is the managing director of Bawaka Cultural Experiences, and has many years’ experience with his family in running cultural tours and programs to his homelands at Bawaka, Port Bradshaw.

Kathleen Pike is professor of psychology in psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.  She is executive director and scientific co-director of the Global Mental Health Program and associate director of the Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program. She is also senior supervising psychologist in the Center for Eating Disorders at CUMC.

Christopher John Leaver is aBritish biochemist and emeritus professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, and an Emeritus Fellow, of St John’s College, Oxford.  His expertise is in plant biochemistry, development, plant physiology and signalling.

Jeffrey Lipman is director of the Department of Intensive Care Medicine at Royal Bribane Womens Hospital and has worked full-time in intensive care units since 1979. His research interests include all aspects of infection management in intensive care. He has a special interest in the pharmacokinetics of antibiotics.

Marita Cheng is Young Australian of the Year 2012 and founder of 2Mar Robotics. She founded Robogals Global in 2008 as a response to the traditionally low levels of participation by women in engineering and technology. Robogals has run robotics workshops for 7000 girls across 90 schools in Australia and now has 16 chapters across Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan.

Robert Shepherd, the Bionics Institute director, Melbourne University, was part of Graeme Clark’s original cochlear implant team and is currently leading the pre-clinical program Bionic Vision Australia to develop a bionic eye.

David Paterson of Infectious Diseases at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Clinical Research and main area of research is in antibiotic resistant bacteria.  He works as an Infectious Diseases Physician at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, and as a Clinical Microbiologist for Pathology Queensland. Born and educated in Brisbane, Professor Paterson spent 10 years working for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in the US.

Amanda Davis is global chief operating officer of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Public Health Division (formerly International Centre for Eyecare Education) Sydney.

Tony Wong is chief executive of Water Sensitive Cities Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), Monash University.  He is internationally-recognised for his research and practice in the sustainable urban water management, particularly in water-sensitive urban design.

Fran Baum is director of the Southgate Institute for Health – Flinders University and one of Australia's leading researchers on the social and economic determinants of health. She is a member and past chair of the Global Steering Council of the People’s Health Movement – a global network of health activists.  Professor Baum was a commissioner on the World Health Organisation’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health from 2005-08.

Sangeet Paul Choudary, managing director of Singapore-based Platform Thinking labs, is a widely-published industry analyst, advisor and educator at leading universities around the world.  He is best known for his work on platform business models and network effects. His work has been featured or recommended by the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, WIRED, Fast Company, MarketWatch, TechCrunch, Inc and other leading business publications. He was formerly the head of innovation and new ventures at Intuit Asia-Pacific. 

Frank Farrall is the lead partner for Deloitte Digital and an information technology specialist who delivers innovative business solutions to clients in Australia, Asia and the US in sectors such as  telecommunications, financial services and the public sector.

Gadi Mazor, general partner and CTO of OurCrowd, founded and managed three startup companies in character and voice recognition and wireless communications. His companies sold wireless solutions to more than 1600 enterprises including the US Senate and House of Representatives, CitiGroup, Coca Cola and Raytheon.  Last year Blackberry named him ‘entrepreneur of the year’.

Andrew Barnes is CEO and co-founder of GO1 – a Brisbane-based global technology firm which has developed an eLearning system ( and an intelligent business platform (  He was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship for Queensland (2014) and is undertaking an MSc in Education (Learning and Technology) at the University of Oxford.

Emil Davityan is founder and executive director of Melbourne-based technology company BlueDot which enables location-based commerce and social innovation across any industry where mobility and location can add value. He was a cyber policy adviser at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Teri Willey is vice president for business development and technology transfer at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York.  She was previously vice president for technology and business development for Mount Sinai School of Medicine; founding chief executive of Cambridge Enterprise Ltd the technology commercialisation affiliate of the University of Cambridge; founder and managing partner of ARCH Development Partners (ADP), a seed and early stage venture fund focused on university and corporate spin-outs; University of Notre Dame Business School adjunct professor and vice president of Start-ups at ARCH Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the University of Chicago, which commercialised technology from the university and Argonne National Laboratory.

Alex French is co-founder of Peepable which has developed new technologies to help deaf people enjoy live performances. Mr French worked as an engineer for IBM and BBC Television before moving into software product management and founding Captioning Studio in 2004.

Hugh Mason, chief executive of The Joyful Frog Digital Incubator co-founded JFDI.Asia, Asia’s leading business accelerator. His physics degree was sponsored by GEC-Marconi Research, where he worked on projects ranging from digital radar to radio propagation and home automation.  He was a TV producer-director with the BBC’s primetime science show, Tomorrow’s World and founded  Narrateo, a TV production company that made over 150 documentaries for Discovery Channel and National Geographic.  In 2001, he co-founded Pembridge Partners providing investment and advice to marketing, media and technology companies.

Adrian Turner, co-founder and managing director of Borondi Group is one of Silicon Valley’s most respected experts on mobile and the Internet of Things.  Borondi Group is building a portfolio of operating assets at the intersection of pervasive computing and traditionally-conservative industries. He is author of the book BlueSky Mining which examines why Silicon Valley has been so successful in spawning new billion dollar industries.

Hugh Durrant-Whyte’s research focuses on robotics and distributed sensor networks and his work with industry includes major robotics and automation projects in cargo handling, surface and underground mining, defence, unmanned flight vehicles and autonomous sub-sea vehicles. He has also co-founded three successful start-up companies.

Mathew McDougall is the CEO and founder of Digital Jungle, a leading Chinese social media marketing agency. Dr McDougall is a renowned expert on digital marketing, recognised for his published articles, his frequent speaking engagements, as well as his prestigious consulting and teaching programs. His latest book is The Chinese Social Media Universe.

Chadatip Chutraku, CEO of Siam Piwat Company is a leading developer widely regarded as a top female achiever in Thailand. She operates several commercial landmarks in Bangkok including Siam Centre, Siam Discovery Center, Siam Paragon and Paradise Park. Before joining Siam Piwat, she became a philanthropist and began her career in the resources industry. 

Brett Godfrey is a leading aviation industry figure and the former CEO of Virgin Blue, now Virgin Australia. He has a strong financial background and his awards include: the Centenary Medal 2003 for services to the Queensland tourism industry, CEO of the Year 2004 for the Customer Service Institute Awards and Outstanding Chartered Accountants in Business Award 2003.

Egbert Schillings is CEO of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) with 20 years experience in the global healthcare industry. 

David Bloom is Clarence James Gamble professor of economics and demography at the Harvard School of Public Health and director of Harvard’s program on the Global Demography of Aging. He currently chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on The Future of Health. In 2005 Bloom was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dimity Dornan is a speech pathologist and the founder and executive director of Hear and Say, which enables deaf children to listen and speak.

Ralph Martins has spent 30 years researching ageing and Alzheimer’s disease and holds adjunct professorial appointments with esteemed universities around the world.

Susan Edgman-Levitan is executive director of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is an associate in health policy at Harvard Medical School. 

James McCarthy is an Australian NHRMRC practitioner fellow. Prof. McCarthy heads the Clinical Tropical Medicine Laboratory at Queensland Institute of Medical Research. His research focus is the development and application of an experimental induced blood stage malaria system.

John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, has worked in a variety of policy and advocacy roles over the past 20 years with organisations including World Vision, Make Poverty History, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the NSW Nature Conservation Council. 

Tim McLennan, CEO of the International Energy Centre has more than 25 years experience in the resources, aerospace and energy sectors in innovation management and technology commercialisation and international collaboration.  He is also vice chairman of the Australian Latin American Business Council and director of the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence Ltd. 

David Gavaghan is chief executive of Titanic Quarter, located in the heart of a new, thriving Belfast, Northern Ireland, with the potential to become one of the most strategic and exciting developments in the UK. He has extensive experience in project and tax-based finance and was a director of Hambros Bank, London.

Kongjian Yu is one of the world’s leading landscape architects. The Harvard graduate is the founder and dean of the Graduate School of Landscape Architecture at Peking University, and the founder and president of Turenscape – the first and largest private landscape architecture and architecture firm in China. Dr Yu is a five-time winner of ASLA Honor Awards (The American Society of Landscape Architects).

Darrell Wade is the CEO of Peak Adventures and the co-founder and CEO of Intrepid Travel. Intrepid Travel is a tourism success story. It is one of the world’s leading small group adventure tour operators with more than 1000 itineraries to more than 100 countries worldwide.

Pansy Ho is the co-chair of MGM China and the managing director of Shun Tak Holdings. One of Asia’s most respected business leaders, Ms Ho was appointed chair of Jetstar in August last year. She is a graduate of the University of Santa Clara in California.


Improving human life –Ian Frazer, Translational Research Institute CEO and director of research:

Professor Ian Frazer was trained as a renal physician and clinical immunologist in Edinburgh Scotland. In 1991, along with Chinese colleague, Dr Jian Zhou, he developed the virus-like particle technology which has become the basis of vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. Dr Frazer has recently been appointed as CEO and director of research of the newly created Translational Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia. He pursues research on skin cancer and on immunotherapy for cancer.

Cities of the future – Greg Clark who advises global cities, firms, organisations and events:

Economist and social and political scientist, Greg Clark is an advisor, advocate, and mentor for cities and businesses. He works with public and private leadership in global cities, global firms, global organisations, and at global events.

Powering future economies, energy – Alex Wonhas, executive director energy and resources, CSIRO:

Alex Wonhas is director of the Energy Flagship of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.  Dr Wonhas oversees 650 researchers working to provide science and technology solutions to enhance the value Australia derives from its vast energy and mineral resources while enabling the transition to a lower emissions economy. 

New Frontiers of Tourism – Christopher Brown:

Christopher Brown is chairman and CEO of Taylor Street Consulting. From 1992-2011 Christopher Brown was managing director of two of the nation’s most high-profile CEO-based industry associations: the Tourism and Transport Forum and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. Mr Brown is a director of the $1 billion Moorebank Intermodal Company Ltd and the University of Western Sydney, sits on the advisory boards of Moss Capital and ANZ Stadium and is founding chair of the high-powered Western Sydney Leadership Forum.

The Digital Age – business growth expert Jana Matthews:

Jana Matthews is an international expert on entrepreneurial leadership and business growth. The ANZ chair in business growth and director of the UniSA Centre for Business Growth, Dr Matthews is working with the executives of 40 Australian small-to-medium sized companies to unlock their growth potential.



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