By Hannamiia TANNINEN (Jockey Club Harmony Hall)

More chairs needed to be carried in to the common room of Hall 4 on 27 February 2012, where the third Roundtable Discussion this year took place. Professors, international, local and mainland students from the ¬†Student Residence, and even alumni were eager to hear what the guest speaker Professor SYED Minhaj ul Hassan, Chair in Pakistan studies at Hong Kong Baptist University, had to share on the topic “China, India and Pakistan: The Race for Asian Supremacy”. From the academic staff, our respectable Dean of Students Dr. Chor-yung Cheung and Dr. Kui-Wai Li (Department of Economics and Finance) were also present to participate in the discussion.

The Roundtable Discussion began with Professor Syed sharing how Pakistan, through its culture, history and geographical location, is one of key players as the two giants, India and China, race to become the strongest country in the region. During the first hour, we learned how the course of the history and the changes in the political dynamics in the region have shaped the triangular relationship and interdependence between the three countries mentioned.

During the last hour and a half of the event, the multicultural audience had their chance to put questions to Professor Syed related to the topic discussed. The audience was eager to take part in the discussion. As a participant myself too, I am sure everyone learned a lot, not only about relations between Pakistan, China and India but also about the dynamics between the country of their origin and Pakistan.

As an active participant and frequent supporter of the roundtable discussions held so far, Joanie summarised the whole learning experience, “I appreciate roundtable discussions because they afford a wonderful chance for intellectual dialogue with fellow students. It is such an ideal occasion to engage in knowledge exchange with students coming from different national backgrounds and academic fields. Topics covered in roundtable discussions address primarily social and political concerns of various countries and regions. The depth and breadth of the selected topics are definitely signatures of roundtable discussions. There is no doubt that I have learned a great deal through roundtable discussions”.

The next Roundtable Discussion was held on 8 March 2012, with a topic related to tensions and integration between Mainland China and Hong Kong.  As students always say, the Student Residence is a place for living and learning; it offers a wonderful platform for informal and intellectual exchange of ideas.