What's Happening in IPO

5 Aug 2019

IPO Students won the Champion in the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) Student Competition 2019


Three IPO students, John YAO, Angel LAI & Michael WANG, won the Champion of undergraduate category in the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) Student Competition 2019 hosted by Nazarbayev University (NU) in Kazakhstan. With the theme “Good Governance in the 21st Century and its Challenges”, the team “Orange” presented innovative ideas of better governance on cross-boundary water resources management in Central Asia.

The AUA Student Competition 2019 was held on 17-21 June 2019 in Nur-Sultan city, the capital of Kazakhstan. A diverse group of 20 selected undergraduate and postgraduate students from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), National University of Singapore (NUS), Seoul National University (SNU), and Nazarbayev University (NU) participated in the Competition. It provided students with a platform to discuss global issues and jointly develop innovative solutions to a certain policy problem. To prepare the students for the competition, Graduate School of Public Policy (GSPP) of Nazarbayev University hosted a series of special lectures on stakeholder analysis, innovations in governance, strategic thinking, and communication strategies during the week.

The winning team “Orange” consisted of students from two IPO programs. John YAO and Michael WANG are year 2 students of Environmental Management and Technology Program (EVMT) while Angel LAI is year 3 student of Dual Degree Program in Technology and Management (T&M-DDP). They have different fields of expertise which provided the team with great dynamics in brainstorming ideas and solutions with a broader view on the selected topic.

When they first knew about the competition, they all were attracted by Kazakhstan, where the competition would be held, as they had very little knowledge about countries in Central Asia. Michael found the positioning of the competition to discuss contemporary governance issues intriguing as it’s a valuable opportunity to explore the influence and implications of issues facing sustainable development in a public policy context. “After considering the current social issues and our major of study, we came up with the topic of better governance on cross-boundary water resources management in Central Asia, a sustainable issue of where the competition is held.” Said Angel. Michael added, “John and I are familiar with environmental issues and we learned about the Aral Sea in Central Asia during our courses, so we thought it would be meaningful to talk about it on the stage of a Central Asia country. It turned out to be pretty successful that even the President of the University, who is an expert on this particular issue, engaged in a long discussion with us and shared much of his insight when he was working on this issue as the Vice President in World Bank.”

This competition has been a great learning experience for John, Angel and Michael.  “Being an undergraduate student, we have very limited ability and knowledge to conduct systematic and scientific research and analysis. We worked as a team and tried our best to use the information we attained and our creativity to organize a reasonable structure of the system for our solutions.” said John. Michael found the experience eye-opening for them to understand real life complications of different issues are more than engineering feasibility and recognize the importance of factors that seems to be irrelevant but actually play an important role in policy-making. Angel met students from different disciplines who thought from different perspectives and it’s rewarding to exchange ideas with people from diverse background.

John, Angel and Michael would like to thank the organizing committee, faculty members and students from Nazarbayev University for making this remarkable competition happened.

  • Participants of the AUA Student Competition 2019 took photo with the faculty members of Nazarbayev University

  • John YAO, Angel LAI & Michael WANG took photo with Mr. Shigeo KATSU, President of Nazarbayev University (From left to right: John YAO , Mr. Shigeo KATSU, President of Nazarbayev University, Michael WANG and Angel LAI)

  • John YAO, Angel LAI & Michael WANG had a great time with other participants