2019 July 13 Saturday

Governors' Seminar: Asia & Europe Connectivity through Cooperation (Open Event)

Grand Auditorium, Philharmonie


  • Facilitate a discussion on cooperation and connectivity, particularly the role of multilateralism to improve connectivity through projects that have wide support and are delivered to high standards. 
  • Encourage cooperation between Asia and Europe through discussion and knowledge exchange.
  • Identify points for AIIB management to consider in relation to the Bank’s strategy going forward.



It has been suggested that the Eurasian continent has an inherent connectivity advantage over other regions. Over thousands of years, people, animals, ideas and technologies spread between areas of similar latitude, without facing the barrier of dramatically changing climate conditions. Arguably Europe-Asia connectivity supported the proliferation of many concepts that underpinned the development of the earliest human societies.


Links between Asia and Europe are strong and broad-based. With an annual trade flow of over $1.6 trillion, the two regions together account for over 70 percent of global trade. More than 200,000 collaborations between Asian and European research institutions take place each year and every day around 1,000 students move between the two continents. Deepening connectivity between Asia and Europe will contribute to improving global growth and prosperity.


There are two forms of connectivity: tangible, where there is a physical driver of integration; and intangible, which refers to a degree of integration and harmonization of legal and regulatory frameworks, institutions, political systems, financial markets or even social and cultural practices. Ultimately, all forms of connectivity require commitment and cooperation.  


This seminar will focus on how to foster the cooperation required to deepen Europe-Asia connectivity. Luxembourg is an ideal location for this discussion: it is at the center of one of the most sophisticated demonstrations of connectivity, the European Union, and  Luxembourg itself is also a leading center for financial and digital connectivity.


Discussion Topics

  • What are the infrastructure sectors needed to overcome the large geographic distances of Europe and Asia?
  • What is the role for new technology in supporting and facilitating EU-Asia connectivity and cooperation. What are the risks of using new technology?
  • Which form of cooperation–bilateral, multilateral or public-private–would be necessary to deliver the connectivity we need?
  • What role can multilateralism play in promoting infrastructure development across the world? How should we seek to harmonize between different forms of multilateral cooperation?
  • Is there a need to motivate decision-makers and market-participants to pursue intangible connectivity over more tangible connectivity? 


Session Format

  • Moderated panel discussion; audience Q&A


Danny Alexander

Vice President & Corporate Secretary, AIIB


Alexander is responsible for AIIB’s relations with its members, the Board of Governors, the Board of Directors and other aspects of governance including the admission of new members. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury, he was one of the leaders of the UK coalition government between 2010 and 2015. He holds a BA in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford and is an honorary fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford. He was knighted in 2015. Alexander is a national of the UK.

Zeti Akhtar Aziz

Former Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysia’s Central Bank, AIIB International Advisory Panel member


Dr. Zeti served as Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia from May 2000 to April 2016. She had an important role in managing the resolution of the financial system in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis and the consequent strong recovery of the Malaysian economy.
In Asia, Dr. Zeti was active in strengthening cooperation and regional financial integration. In 2006, she chaired the regional task force that prepared the report for the future direction of central bank financial cooperation in the East Asian region. At the BIS, she was the chair of the BIS Central Bank Governance Group. In the region she was a founding member of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Asian Consultative Council, and was the first Co-chair of the Financial Stability Board Regional Consultative Council Group for Asia.
She is currently Co-chair, Board of Governors of Asia School of Business, established in collaboration with MIT Sloan. In May 2018, following the change in the Government of Malaysia, Dr. Zeti was appointed as a member of the Eminent Council to advise the Government on the Institutional and Structural Reforms required for the country. In July 2018, she was appointed as group chairman of Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNB).


Dr. Zeti received her PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Chuan Chiao

President, Asia Pacific, AECOM


Sean Chiao is President of Asia Pacific at AECOM, heading a multidisciplinary team of 15,000 professionals across Greater China, Southeast Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand, delivering integrated services for complex infrastructure works. He led many acclaimed master-planning and urban regeneration projects including Manila Fort Bonifacio and Suzhou Industrial Park new town.  A Global Trustee of Urban Land Institute, member of the Executive Committee of Asia Society and Harvard University Graduate School of Design Dean’s Leadership Council, Sean has co-founded strategic collaboration platforms with these and other partners, to engage the infrastructure industry on thought leadership and innovation for the world’s urban future.  He is a Fellow at the American Institute of Architects.

Pierre Gramegna

Minister of Finance, Ministry of Finance, Luxembourg


Pierre Gramegna was born on 22 April 1958 in Esch-sur-Alzette.


Following the legislative elections of 14 October 2018, Pierre Gramegna was re-appointed Minister of Finance on 5 December 2018 in the coalition government formed by the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Green Party (déi gréng).


As Minister of Finance, Pierre has initiated major reforms to balance the budget and to align Luxembourg’s tax rules with international transparency standards. He is a promoter of the diversification of Luxembourg’s financial center, in particular with regard to FinTech and sustainable finance.
As chair of the Ecofin Council of the European Union during the Luxembourg Presidency in 2015, Pierre actively contributed to reaching landmark agreements on the introduction of the automatic exchange of tax rulings with European Union member states, and on securitization.


A career diplomat, Pierre joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983. In 2003, Pierre Gramegna took up the position of director general of the Chamber of Commerce.


Pierre Gramegna pursued studies in law and economics at the Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) and completed his post-university education with a postgraduate diploma of advanced studies in European Union law.

Mohd. Humayon Qayoumi

Minister of Finance & Chief Adviser to the President, Ministry of Finance for Afghanistan

Danny Quah

Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy


Danny Quah is Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS. His current research takes an economic approach to world order, studying the supply and demand of world order: on the one hand, what international system the world’s superpowers provide, and on the other, what world order the global community needs.


Quah uses this to recast analysis of global power shifts, the rise of the east, regional order, and models of global power relations.


Quah is a member of the Spence-Stiglitz Commission on Global Economic Transformation. He is the author of “The Global Economy’s Shifting Centre of Gravity”. Quah gave the third LSE-NUS lecture in 2013, and TEDx talks in 2016, 2014, and 2012. Quah was previously Assistant Professor of Economics at MIT, and then Professor of Economics and International Development, and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre at LSE. He had also served as LSE’s Head of Department for Economics, and Council Member on Malaysia’s National Economic Advisory Council.


Quah studied at Princeton, Minnesota, and Harvard.



Henny Sender

Chief International Correspondent, Financial Times


Sender was part of a team at the Journal that won a Loeb award for coverage of the meltdown of Amaranth hedge fund. Her work on the overseas Chinese for Institutional Investor received a citation from the Overseas Press Club and she was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards. As a contributor to the Nikkei, the FT’s new owner, her coverage of China was part of a series that won an award from SOPA, the Society of Publishers in Asia. Her book on India,The Kashmiri Pandits, was published by Oxford University Press.

Sender holds an MS from the Columbia University School of Journalism and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.