The Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS) High Table Dinner took place on 28 November. Chair Professor of Geography and Dean of Social Sciences at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Prof Adrian J Bailey addressed the audience on 'Happy Cities/Sustainable Cities' as the High Table speaker.

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Attendees of the high table dinner

Prof Adrian Bailey is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He holds a PhD in geography from Indiana University and his research interests include the study of transnationalism, with his work in this area exploring the diverse ways in which the state affects life outcomes among immigrants and refugees.

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Honourable guests of the night: (from left) UIC's Associate Vice President Prof George Wei, President Prof Tang Tao, Prof Adrian Bailey, UIC's Vice President (Academic Affairs) Prof Chen Zhi, Vice President (Student and General Affairs) Prof Zhang Cong, and Associate Dean of DHSS Dr Charles Lowe

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Souvenir Exchange. (From left) President Tang Tao, Prof Adrian Bailey, and Associate Dean of DHSS Prof Simon Zhao  

The night began with the MC for the night, Associate Dean of DHSS Prof Simon Zhao welcoming everyone and introducing the honourable guests.

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MC of the night Prof Simon Zhao welcoming all

Next, chairperson of the event was UIC's Vice President (Academic Affairs), Prof Chen Zhi, who gave a welcoming address. He explained that High table dinners are a tradition at UIC and they invite important guests such as Prof Adrian J Bailey, in order for students and faculty members to learn more and educate ourselves based on the guest’s knowledge and experience.

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Prof Chen Zhi introducing Prof Bailey 

Prof Adrian J Bailey asked the audience during his speech, “Why are some people happier than others?”

He started off with a story about when he went to visit his parents he came across a bench that read: “I’m happy to chat bench”. The purpose of this bench is that if you are out and want to strike up a conversation with a stranger, sit on the bench.

 

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Prof Bailey giving his speech

He then asked, “What is the need for this bench?” He says, “In the cities we live in, there is a happy gap, meaning they are not as happy as they should be, and my argument today is that this happy gap matters and this is something we need to pay attention to.”

“Health and wellbeing is key to achieving sustainable development goals (SDG). So the happy gap, happiness and wellbeing matter if we are worried about sustainability,” he said. He then said he focuses on economic, social and planetary sustainability.

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Attendees listening in on the speech

Prof Bailey added, “Learning how we can be one global society sharing a common planet with environmental challenges that we face, we need to think about the elements of sustainability and wellbeing in order to succeed.”

He also touched on the case study that he did in Hong Kong before opening up the room to questions.

At the end of his lecture, there were many questions that were asked. One student asked, “How can we make our campus more sustainable?” Prof Bailey answered, “Nothing is too small when it comes to human nature, quality and meaning. One conversation and one step at a time is what changes the world.”

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Questions from the audience

Another question was asked, “How do college students improve their awareness of wellbeing to connect to society?” He responded, “I admire UIC because it has set up a division for humanities and social sciences and there are so many connections between the two. In addition, I recommend taking classes from as many different departments as you can. Sitting down and working with others who think differently is a great way to do so.”

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The musical performance from the night

After the Q&A session, beautiful musical performances were presented by Year 1 Environmental Science student Xu Junhui, Year 3 Applied Translation Studies student Ou Yuzhen as well as Year 2 Applied Translation Studies students Ma Qianqi and Li Weijun.

Toast

Raising glasses for the toast

Reporter: Lauren Richardson
Photographer: Deng Bowen (Y2 IJ)
Editors: Deen He, Samuel Burgess
(from MPRO)