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The Canadian Alumni Network's Beijing Spring Cocktail 2016

March 14, 2016 - The Canadian Alumni Network (CAN) hosted a Spring Cocktail at the Four Seasons in Beijing with over 200 RSVPs, a record-breaking milestone for the 13-year old network, celebrating the Year of People to People and Cultural Exchange.

The CAN’s Honourary Chair and Canadian Ambassador, Mr. Guy Saint-Jacques, made welcome and very informative remarks, saying “Based on preliminary data, in 2015, our visa offices in China issued over 30,000 study permits to Chinese nationals, bringing the total number of study permits held by Chinese nationals in Canada to over 140,000. This represents about a third of all international students in Canada last year, and does not even account for the important number of visitor visas issued for short-term studies.” The CAN’s Founder, Richard N. Liu, commented “These new figures have a very important potential to usher in a new era for Canada’s universities and colleges for the next decade and beyond. With over 16,000 alumni currently residing in China, it's fantastic to see many of our post-secondary institutions already committed to developing the China market particularly in the area of advancement.”

Trailing the recent Global 2016 summit in Vancouver, BC, the CAN provided their very first educational component by hosting an unique alumni panel discussion on Green China 2016, moderated by Mr. Nathan VanderKlippe, Asia Correspondent of Canada's Globe and Mail, together with *four experts in the field (*full alumni profiles can be found below). The Ambassador said, “Over the years, Canada and China have worked on multiple initiatives to strengthen environmental protection. Through these projects and our ongoing cooperation, China has learned more about Canadian approaches to climate change; while Canada has gained a better understanding of the challenges facing China in its efforts to secure a sustainable future. I believe that Canada and China can be complementary partners in helping to address climate change internationally. As a result, both countries’ commitment to participating in Mission Innovation, an initiative to reinvigorate and accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation is particularly notable. I would also like to report on the very successful official visit that Prime Minister Trudeau just made to Washington. He and President Obama agreed to formally join the Paris Agreement in the global fight against climate change, and to take ambitious actions to reduce methane, hydrofluorcarbon and greenhouse has emissions.”

There was also a special presentation to Ambassador Saint-Jacques for his continued support as our honourary chair, with a large traditional fan, with the Chinese classical inscription, “海内存知己,天涯若比邻”, “We will always be friends, though oceans apart”, signed by all our volunteer Alumni Representatives present during this evening.

Special thanks to all in making our event a success, especially our Alumni Representatives; our 4 amazing alumni volunteers at the registration table; the Canadian Embassy, especially to the Public Affairs section, for their continued support; all our incredible participants in the CAN's very first discussion panel; and to our prize sponsors, Vitality Air, Origins, and the Four Seasons in Beijing.

*Alumni Panel Profiles:

Huaying Zhang is the Vice President of Sustainability for Coca-Cola’s Greater China & Korea Business Unit responsible for developing and implementing an integrated sustainability strategy. Her team partners with people throughout the Coca-Cola value chain, NGOs and government organizations to bring about positive changes in our society. 

Dr. Zhang joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1994, managing Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for Asia and then for the Middle and Far East Group. In 2000, she moved to Hong Kong as Technical Director for Coca-Cola Asia when she managed a team of over 100 professionals throughout Asia providing support for all Asian business units on Research & Development (R&D), quality assurance, environmental stewardship, and scientific & regulatory Affairs.

Before taking on her current job, Dr. Zhang also headed Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness for the Asia and managed Coca-Cola Greater China & Korea Business Unit’s Risk Management function.

Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Dr. Zhang worked in the Ministry of Health on food safety control in China where she managed the promulgation of the first ever China food law and supported the development of a comprehensive food standard and regulation systems.

Dr. Zhang received her Medical degree from Peking University in China. She also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Rutgers University in United States, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a PhD in Chinese Medicine from the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences.

In 2013, Dr. Zhang was named one of the top 50 innovative business leaders in China by CBNweekly for her work in the CSR field. She is also named as one of the 25 most influential business women in China in the past two years and one of the 10 CSR leaders in China in 2015 by Fortune China.


Robert Earley is the COO of MotionECO, and an independent consultant focusing on transportation emissions, including the areas of green freight and logistics, automotive fuel economy, green vehicle ratings, and sustainable fossil and biofuel standards for China. Robert has lived and worked in China for nearly 12 years, but has also worked on climate and air pollution projects in North America and across Asia, including projects of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants. Robert was born in Calgary, Canada. He studied environmental science and urban and regional planning at the University of Calgary and University of Waterloo in Canada, and his publications have focused on the impact of climate change in Arctic communities, environmental and social impact assessment of oil and gas projects, policy options for low carbon fuels in China, carbon emission impact of electric vehicles in China, and options for cleaner global freight systems. Robert is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and has served on a volunteer basis as the Executive Director and Board member of the Beijing Energy Network, enjoys hiking and cycling, and is an avid supporter and participant in choral music in China.


Harrison Wang serves as TAK International’s Director of Business Development, where he leads both the sales and marketing teams in helping North American companies and organizations expand their businesses into China. Harrison has over ten years experience in the high tech and export industry with an exemplary track record for launching niche products and increasing sales revenue in China for both small and large sized companies. His latest projects include geothermal technology, air purifying solutions, and bottled fresh air (Vitality Air).

Prior to joining TAK in 2012, Harrison was the Asia Pacific regional manager for Matrikon OPC, an automation software division of Honeywell, where he managed global 100 accounts such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, PetroChina, Sinopec, Samsung Chemicals etc He was able to successfully bring company solutions into the Mainland China market, and subsequently turned the brand into a household name in the Chinese industrial automation industry.

Harrison has extensive experience in strategic partnerships, sales and distribution agreements, and high tech product marketing. He has a natural ability to navigate through cultural barriers and is very familiar with the practices of Chinese private companies & SOEs. Harrison holds an Economics degree from the University of Alberta and an MBA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


Liam Bates (李牧) is a performer, adventurer and entrepreneur from Switzerland. He has hosted numerous TV shows with the Travel Channel China (旅游卫视) and the Discovery Channel, exploring traditional lifestyles and changing cultures, from the jungles of Indonesia to the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Liam is also the co-founder and CEO of Origins Technology, a Beijing-based startup. Origins is focused on developing smart devices to help people maintain healthy lifestyles. The company recently launched the Laser Egg smart air quality monitor, to help see invisible: air pollution levels in the home. Liam is also a proud UBC Alumni, graduating from Asian Studies in 2010.


2003-2015 Celebrating 12 Years of Team Canada in Education
45 Years of Diplomatic Relations Between Canada and China

The Canadian Alumni Network (CAN), as a non-profit, volunteer-based group of 26 alumni chapter representatives, continue to connect our rapidly growing network with engagement experiences at the national, provincial, and institutional levels, extending mutual support to alumni chapters in China, and to develop synergy and opportunities for currently 2,200 alumni in Beijing and over 16,000 alumni in China. Since 2003, the CAN has been fostering public awareness that Canadian post-secondary institutions have an influential alumni network in China. Please join the network today through the main social media platforms, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Weibo, and WeChat, thank you.


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