The Tao of Diplomacy: Rediscovering Harmony in U.S.-China Relations


Featuring Brian Wong
Entrepreneur and investor and former Alibaba executive

Tuesday, November 7
5–6 p.m.
McNamara Alumni Center

With U.S.-China relations reaching their lowest point since normalization in 1979, we find ourselves at the most difficult crossroads. De-risking policies are upending existing supply chains, technology export and investment restrictions are impacting business prospects, and fears of intellectual theft are disrupting academic collaborations.

How are we to recalibrate our expectations and navigate these turbulent waters ahead? Where can we look for some clues to view this relationship in its totality?

In the 2023 Bob and Kim Griffin Building U.S.-China Bridges Lecture, Brian Wong will share his observations as the first American to join Alibaba Group in 1999. As someone who has been standing at the crossroads of emerging markets, the digital economy, and entrepreneurship for the last two decades, he will discuss why it is critical not to give up on maintaining this most consequential bilateral relationship.

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About the Speaker

Brian A. Wong is a Chinese American entrepreneur and investor. He was the first American and only the 52nd employee to join Alibaba Group, where he contributed to the company’s early globalization efforts and served as Jack Ma’s special assistant for international affairs. During his 16-year tenure, Wong established the Alibaba Global Initiatives (AGI) division and was the founder and executive director of the Alibaba Global Leadership Academy. Wong remains an adviser to the AGI team and regularly teaches courses on China’s digital economy and the Tao of Alibaba management principles. Wong founded RADII, a digital media platform dedicated to bridging understanding between East and West.

Wong earned his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College, a master’s certificate from the Johns Hopkins University (SAIS)–Nanjing University Center for US and China Studies, and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015, is a China Fellow with the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and is a member of the Committee of 100. He is based in Shanghai, China.

About the Griffin Lecture

Building a legacy for their children and for Minnesota, Bob and Kim Griffin created an endowment fund at the China Center to establish the “Bob and Kim Griffin Building U.S.-China Bridges Lecture.” The Griffin’s substantial gift reflects their commitment to promoting the mutual respect between the two cultures and their passion to connect people to China.

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