17th April Afternoon Keynote Speaker:

Dr Suzanne T. Ortega


Council of Graduate Schools
Washington, USA

Suzanne Ortega became the sixth President of the Council of Graduate Schools on July 1, 2014. Prior to assuming her current position, she served as the University of North Carolina (UNC) Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (2011-14). Previous appointments include the Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of New Mexico, Vice Provost and Graduate Dean at the University of Washington, and the University of Missouri. Dr. Ortega’s masters and doctoral degrees in sociology were completed at Vanderbilt University.

With primary research interests in mental health epidemiology, health services, and race and ethnic relations, Dr. Ortega is the author or co-author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and an introductory sociology text, now in its 9th edition. An award-winning teacher, Dr. Ortega has also served on a number of review panels for National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health and has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on grants totaling more than $9 million in private foundation and federal funds.

Dr. Ortega serves or has served on a number of professional association boards and committees, including the boards of the Council of Graduate Schools, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the National Academies Committees on the Assessment of the Research Doctorate and Revitalizing Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century, the NSF Human Resources Expert Panel and Education and Human Resources Advisory Committee, the North Carolina E-learning Commission, and the UNC Press. She currently is a member of the Board of Trustees of American University in the Emirates.

18th April Morning Keynote Speaker:

Professor Roland T Chin

President and Vice-Chancellor

Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong

Professor Roland T Chin is currently the President and Vice-Chancellor and Chair Professor of Computer Science of Hong Kong Baptist University. Prior to joining HKBU, He was Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong; and Deputy President and Provost at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Professor Chin obtained his Bachelor’s and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering at the University of Missouri, USA. He worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) before starting his teaching career at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Professor Chin’s research is in the areas of computer vision, image processing, and pattern recognition. His work was recognised by awards such as the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and appointments to serve on editorial boards of top journals including the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, and Pattern Recognition. His research was supported by funding bodies in the US and Hong Kong, including the NSF, NASA, University Grants Committee (UGC), Research Grants Council (RGC), and Innovation and Technology Commission.

Session 1:

Datin Dr Anita b Z Abdul Aziz

Vice-Chancellor and President

Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Anita was appointed as Vice Chancellor & President of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) on 28th January 2016. Prior to this, Anita was the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education of Brunei Darussalam. She was appointed to this post in March 2014 and under her purview included the Brunei’s higher educational system comprising the universities, the polytechnic and technical education institutions. Her portfolio also included overseeing several departments in the ministry including the Scholarship Department that is responsible for awarding scholarships to Bruneians studying locally or abroad.

Previously, Anita was at UBD and held the post of Assistant Vice Chancellor & Vice President responsible for the university’s global affairs. Her primary role was to provide leadership in the development and execution of integrating an international perspective across the different domains of activity in the university. This involved establishing connections between the university’s various ongoing activities and initiatives in the international arena, and developing partnerships with key organisations and institutions worldwide. Anita’s purview also included the Discovery Year programme which is a mandatory year in the university’s undergraduate curriculum whereby all students leave the university for experiential learning, with a majority going abroad, and the consortium founded by UBD called the International Consortium of Universities in the study of Biodiversity and Environment (iCUBE) as well as the setting up of the Faculty of Integrated Technologies and the Institute of Policy Studies in UBD.

Prior to this, Anita was Assistant Vice Chancellor & Vice President responsible for Education and Internationalisation. She led the development of UBD’s curriculum, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. This involved instituting university-wide curriculum reviews that resulted in unparalleled developments in advancing new approaches in tertiary education.

Anita is a clinical academic in the field of Reproductive Medicine and Biology. She graduated from the University of Glasgow with a medical degree and holds a PhD from Imperial College, London. She trained in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology and later worked in the IVF Wolfson Clinic, Hammersmith Hospital, London. During that time, Anita also carried out clinical and scientific research at the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology. She is also member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (UK). Prior to her appointment as Assistant Vice Chancellor & Vice President, Anita was the Dean of UBD’s Institute of Medicine (now the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences). Anita is married to Hamzah and together they raised two children, Hana and Idries.

Mr Alan Goh

Senior Human Resource Executive

Hengyi Industries Private Limited

As the largest overseas investment by a private Chinese company, the anticipated construction of the refinery and aromatics cracker in Brunei marks a significant milestone for the Zhejiang Hengyi Group. From its modest early stages at the lower end of the value chain, the company is now gradually diversifying and venturing into more sophisticated and capital-intensive businesses.

Under the rule of a reigning monarch for the past 600 years, the prosperous nation of Brunei Darussalam has created an environment that is economically and politically stable. Its strategic location at the heart of South East Asia makes Brunei Darussalam an ideal location for export-oriented activities.

Brunei’s desire to further develop its downstream sector and Zhejiang Hengyi’s aspiration to back integrate its production activities has created the perfect synergy for both parties to develop a world class refinery and integrated petrochemical complex. Hengyi’s Oil Refinery and Aromatics complex is currently one of the most significant development projects in the area of economic and trade between China and Brunei.

The project will be split into a two phase development schedule. During the first phase, the refinery will have the capacity to refine 175,000 barrels of crude oil per day, churning out refined products to cater for domestic demand and aromatics for export to China as feedstock for Zhejiang Hengyi Group’s assets. Once completed, the first phase of the project alone is expected to contribute as much as 40% to Brunei’s Gross Domestic Product. The second phase includes plans for further expansion of the aromatics and cracker plant, providing the building blocks for the petrochemical industry.

To date, it has been a fruitful journey for Hengyi Industries with some major accomplishments under its belt including the granting of a pioneer status from the Brunei government; establish a joint Chemical & Process Engineering Scholarship Programme with UBD & Zhejiang University; signing of the Implementation Agreement for Phase 1; MOU to develop Phase 2 as well as the opening of Hengyi Industries International Pte Ltd in Singapore.

Session 2:

Dr Bhanu Chowdhary

Associate Provost for Research

Dean, College of Food & Agriculture
United Arab Emirates University
United Arab Emirates

Session 3:

Professor Michael P Reichel

Dean and Chair Professor

College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences,
City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Dean and Chair Professor Michael P. Reichel is recognised as a specialist in Veterinary Public Health in Hong Kong (Veterinary Public Health/Food Hygiene and Population Medicine), Australia and New Zealand as well as in Europe and the UK. He is a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists and was recently awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (London) for his Meritorious Contributions to Learning.

He graduated with a veterinary degree from the Free University of Berlin. Since then he has spent most of his professional life in the Southern hemisphere, working in New Zealand, the Falkland Islands, but also East Africa and Switzerland, and lately Australia. He has experience in both, government service and private industry and has been closely associated with universities in Australasia (he also holds an adjunct professorial appointment at UTS, Sydney) and has collected half a dozen postgraduate qualifications along his professional career.

He is Foundation Dean of the new Veterinary College in Hong Kong, and was also involved in the setting up of the veterinary school at the University of Adelaide.

Session 4:

Ms Shirley Chong

Associate Director

Institutional Research Office
City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Ms. Shirley Chong works for the City University of Hong Kong which ranked Top 50 in the World for branding and international rankings. She has a Master’s Degree in Marketing Management and is an expert in promoting internationalization and academic reputation for publicly funded universities and self-financed tertiary institutions in Hong Kong with more than 12 years’ experience. She has also worked for semi-governmental institutions and as consultant in the private sector on knowledge transfer and corporate branding.

Ms Chong has 18 years of public relations and marketing experience and a strong business network which benefits the university when promoting the research excellence and building a strong academic reputation as well as developing employers’ perception of graduates.

Ms Chong also brings industry partners to universities sector. She has worked out the partnership with APPLE Education in CityU and also brings in APPLE Education to Universities in Malaysia and Dubai.

Apple Education ME

Session 5:

Professor Abdulla Y. Al-Hawaj

Managing Director

Ahlia University

Dr. Abdulla Y. Al-Hawaj, the Founding President of Ahlia University, ranks in the top echelon of educational leaders in the Arabian Gulf. His incumbency in numerous managerial posts in prestigious organizations associated with educational development at a national level, his academic accolades from esteemed institutions, attests to Dr. Al-Hawaj’s being in the vanguard of higher educational reform in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In recognition of Dr. Al-Hawaj’s trail blazing contributions in the sphere of educational advancement in the Kingdom of Bahrain, he was appointed — by royal decree – as a member of the Supreme Committee for the Kingdom National Charter, in which he serves as the coordinator of its Educational Committee. Among his portfolio of managerial responsibilities is his membership in Higher Educational. Moreover, Dr. Al-Hawaj, since 2001, has served as the President of the Bahrain Association for Academics. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Manchester (UK) and a B.Sc. (Hon.) in Mathematics from the University of Kuwait.

Dr. Al-Hawaj launched his distinguished academic career at the University of Bahrain, in which he held the successive posts of Dean of Student Affairs, Chairman of the Department of Computer Sciences, and Chairman of the Department of Mathematics. He attained the rank of Professor of Mathematics at the University of Bahrain and continued to serve the University of Bahrain in that capacity until 2005. Dr. Al-Hawaj’s profound contributions to the fields of Mathematics, Computer Sciences, and Education through numerous research papers, books, media debates, and public discussions are vast. His unstinting dynamism, paradigm-shattering innovation and superlative achievement in the academic and social arena have accorded him a number of prestigious awards and honorariums.

Dr. Al-Hawaj has extensive experience in leading large multi-dimensional institutions. His signature use of pragmatic and innovative thinking in solving complex educational and business issues stems from his strong managerial and educational background. He is widely acclaimed as a pioneering architect of the private university in the Arabian Gulf and a leading proponent of excellence in Higher Education in the whole of the Middle East. Recently, he was elected as the President of the Association of Private Universities in the GCC countries and the Chairman of the Executive Office of The Association of Arab Private Institutions for Higher Education.

Professor Mansoor Alaali


Ahlia University

Prof. Mansoor Ahmed Al-Aali was born in the Kingdom of Bahrain. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Aston in Birmingham, U.K., 1989. He has a M.Sc. in Computer Science (1984) from University of Aston in Birmingham, a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Computing (1983) from Teesside University, UK.

He worked as a lecturer in the Computer Science department in the University of Bahrain from 1989 to 2009. He occupied a number of managerial positions in the University of Bahrain, University of Sunderland, Greenwich University, and Ahlia University and in a number of private and government organization. Prof. Mansoor worked as chairperson of the Computer Science Department (1991-1994) in the University, and the Director of Continuing Education (1996 – 2000) in University of Bahrain.

He joined Ahlia University in 2009 in the College of Information Technology and worked as the Dean of Student Affairs from 2005 to 2015. Currently, Prof. Al-Aali is the President of Ahlia University.

Session 6:

Professor Abhilasha Singh

Provost and Vice President (Academic Affairs)

American University in the Emirates
United Arab Emirates

A staunch supporter of quality education with a strong commitment to academic excellence and unwavering dedication to the success of students, Prof.Abhilasha Singh is a Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs at the American University in the Emirates, Dubai, UAE.

Throughout her distinguished career, she was engaged in a series of academic administrative positions at various institutions and have been engaged in providing strategic directives at a senior leadership role and ensuring its implementation with determination.

Prof. Singh also serves as a Board Member of College of Fashion and Design, Dubai, UAE and University of Business and Technology, Dhahban, Saudi Arabia.

While she was actively engaged in her administrative role, she never let the researcher within her die and her passion for research resulted in many published articles in national and international journals of high repute and also in frequent invitations to numerous speaking engagements to national and international audiences.

Needless to mention, her commitment to teaching and research excellence led to many awards and accolades from various national/ international organizations and research grants, including from the National Research Foundation of Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research on “Education to Employment”.

His Excellency Jean-Paul Tared Kuborn

Ambassador of Chile

Ambassador of Chile to the United Arab Emirates since 2009, covering the GCC Nations, Pakistan and Yemen.

Ambassador Jean was appointed as ambassador of Chile to the United Arab Emirates since 2009, covering the GCC Nations, Pakistan and Yemen. Born in Dubai on December 5th, 1976, he has accumulated over 28 years living in the GCC, with 25 years in the UAE and 3 years in KSA.

Ambassador Tarud is one of Chile’s leading experts in Middle East Affairs and advises the Interior and Foreign Ministries of Chile on several issues including Counter Terrorism, National Security, Defense, International Policy, Conflict Resolution, Illicit Trafficking and Human Rights matters as well as on International Trade, Economics and Investments.

With his passionate drive, he created the first investment in Innovation Delegation in 2014, focusing on fostering innovation, research and technology development in Chile and the UAE, which includes the establishment of the Advanced Innovation Centre of Chile in Dubai, aimed at developing cutting edge technologies from micro-conductors to advanced nanotechnologies in fields such as Defense, Education, Medical and Space Exploration.

He serves on the Advisory Board for the College of Security and Strategic Studies of American university in the Emirates, Dubai.

Session 7:

Professor Ahmad Zaharin Aris


Faculty of Environmental Studies
Universiti Putra Malaysia

Dr. Ahmad Zaharin Aris is a Professor at Universiti Putra Malaysia and appointed as the Dean of Faculty of Environmental Studies. As a Dean, he oversees not only the management of the faculty but also the curriculum design, research activity, community extension as well as university’s green campus policy. Professor Zaharin’s research focuses on environmental chemistry and environmental forensics particularly on the identification, fate, remediation and health relevance of metals and emerging pollutants in the environment. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 papers in international journals or books. His work has won many awards and some have been used in environmental policy and guidelines ratification for the country. He currently serves as an Editorial Board Member for many journals for example Scientific Reports and Environmental Geochemistry and Health. He now leads environmental translational research activity through working in partnership with policy makers in translating research outputs through public engagement.

Mr Khoo Nee Teck

Regional Sales Director (Education)

Huawei South Pacific Region

With more than 15 years’ experience in the ICT industry, he possesses broad experience in the industry development strategy and technology, business solutions, Sales and Marketing; and he is responsible on regional Sales and Solution Planning, Business Alliances & Eco-system. His mission is to support customers and partners to identify and develop the right future ICT transformation solutions and ecosystem, to build a Better Connected World.

Session 8:

Dato’ Professor Ir Dr Kamal Nasharuddin Mustapha


Universiti Tenaga Nasional

Dato’ Professor Ir Dr Kamal Nasharuddin Mustapha has been Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Tenaga Nasional (The National Energy University) since 5 May 2015. He has had vast experience in the academia since 1984 and served in various management positions at UNITEN for over 12 years.

He retains a stated passion for higher education transformation, interdisciplinary research and communicating his own enthusiasm for science and scholarship as a whole to the public, in particular the young generation. His research has been in the field of structural fire engineering and forensic studies for buildings. Upon his appointment to steer UNITEN’s direction, Professor Kamal has emphasized that in order to survive and succeed as an institution is fundamentally governed by our ability to excel in research and education whilst transforming the lives of the individuals and communities who are connected to us. Professor Kamal is responsible for the conception of the new transformation wave for UNITEN which is better known as BOLD2025 (Building Opportunities, Living Dreams). Under this dynamic initiative, UNITEN is embarked to accelerate its transformation journey in becoming a globally competitive, energy focused university. It has been carefully designed in such a way to alleviate academic and research excellence while offering an outstanding campus-based student experience.

Professor Kamal also plays a major role in cultivating and sustaining UNITEN’s relationship with its many key external stakeholders. Aspiring to be a successful academician, in 1994 Professor Kamal took a leap of faith in establishing one of the earliest private institution of higher learning in the country. This was strongly driven by his pioneering concern for social mobility of the underprivileged through science and technology education.

Mr Nazmi Othman

Chief Investment Management Officer (CIMO)

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB)

Mr. Nazmi Othman is currently the Chief Investment Management Officer (CIMO) in Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) which is the only electric utility company in Peninsular Malaysia and also the largest publicly-listed power company in Southeast Asia. He is a Certified Public Accountant of Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants.

He is also a Member of Malaysian Institute of Accountants. Mr. Nazmi’s career in Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) started in September 2004 as Head (Financial Reporting and Budget) and became General Manager (Operation) in June 2006. In February 2008, he was appointed as Senior General Manager (Group Finance/Group Accountant). He has successfully demonstrated his leadership capabilities in business development and as a result, Mr. Nazmi was appointed as Chief Investment Management Officer (CIMO) for TNB on 14 February 2014. His job responsibilities include governing the adhering of policies and procedures within the Investment Management Division and Tenaga Nasional group-wide, including subsidiaries.

He also monitors the performance and achievements of Tenaga Nasional subsidiaries in hitting targeted investment goals. Besides that, he has to discover investment opportunities through the subsidiaries to penetrate markets abroad, in order to bring Tenaga Nasional Berhad to the global stage.

Session 9:

Mr Judi Arto

Director of Marketing

Binus University

Judi started his career at BINA NUSANTARA (BINUS) Group as marketing support, while studying the 5th semester of his undergraduate degree in 2000. After 17 years of his dedication with BINUS, Judi is the current Marketing Director for BINUS Group.

He oversees and manages both BINUS’ marketing and admission function as well as Corporate & Marketing Communication from Pre-School program to Doctorate Degree. Currently, BINA NUSANTARA has successfully developed more than 15 campuses and educated 35.000+ active students in Indonesia.

In Judi’s spare time, he actively advises a mid-scale Garment and Post Natal treatment business run by his family. He enjoys reading, teaching, and travelling. Judi is also an active volunteer at the Catholic Church community.

Mr. Tony Seno Hartono

National Technology Officer

Microsoft Indonesia

Tony is the National Technology Officer (NTO) at Microsoft Indonesia. Tony leads the transformation, drives technology vision, supports sales projects with certain compliance requirements at the regulated sectors, and lead spokesperson at Microsoft Indonesia. Prior to Microsoft, Tony held several technical roles in Cisco Systems Indonesia, as Systems Engineer for 10 years, and Director of Advanced Technology for 3 years in Cisco Systems Indonesia.

Prior to Cisco Systems, Tony was Computer Engineer and Country Support for IBM Midrange Systems in IBM Indonesia. Tony obtained bachelor degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from Universitas Trisakti Indonesia in 1990, and master degree in Communication and Media Studies, cum laude, from Universitas Pelita Harapan Indonesia in 2017.

Tony aspires to enable Indonesia to become the fourth world economic power by 2045 through innovations in technology, policy, and people development.

Organising Partner for 2019

Dead Sea, Jordan