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  • 13 August 2018 12:10

The Economist announces line-up of speakers for its Open Future Festival taking place on September 15th in Hong Kong, London and New York

The Economist has announced the first round of speakers for its Open Future Festival, a live-streamed event taking place on September 15th in Hong Kong, London and New York. The Open Future Festival will host discussions on the most urgent issues of our time, and will consider the future of freedom, individual rights, trade and technology with speakers representing many sides of the debate.

Headliners include Amber Heard, actress and activist; Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google DeepMind; Larry Summers, former US treasury secretary; Joshua Wong, secretary-general of Demosisto; Nick Clegg, former UK deputy prime minister

Guests who attend the Open Future Festival in person will be able to participate in lively talks, interactive exhibitions, immersive experiences, debates and networking with 200 festival attendees expected in both New York and Hong Kong and 500 attendees expected in London.

The Open Future Festival was born out of The Economist’s Open Future initiative, which aims to remake the case for classical liberal values and policies in the 21st century. Through articles, online debates, essays and films contests, The Economist’s Open Future initiative has explored the future of capitalism, free speech, diversity, identity politics, immigration and technology. An essay on the future of liberalism written by The Economist’s editor-in-chief, Zanny Minton Beddoes, will be published in September to coincide with the festival.

The Economist is encouraging people from all walks of life to attend the Open Future Festival and take part in the conversation. Tickets can be purchased via these links:

Hong Kong Open Future Festival 6pm - 8:45pm HKT (followed by drinks) at PMQ/Qube, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong USD $29.40 for Economist subscribers; USD $49 for non-subscribers

London Open Future Festival 10am - 7pm BST (followed by drinks) at 8 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BY GBP £23 for Economist subscribers; GBP £39 for non-subscribers

New York Open Future Festival 10am - 3pm EDT (followed by drinks) at 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, New York 10006 USD $29.40 for Economist subscribers; USD $49 for non-subscribers

The festival will feature an impressive and diverse roster of speakers from academia, business, government, journalism, the arts and non-profit sectors, including:

Hong Kong:

● Daniel A. Bell – Dean, school of political science and public administration, Shandong University ● Agnes Chow – member, Demosisto ● Daisy Guo - co-founder, Tezign ● Sharon Hom – executive director, Human Rights in China ● Benjamin Qiu – partner, Loeb and Loeb ● Danny Quah – dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore ● Kotaro Tamura – Asia fellow, Milken Institute ● Joshua Wong – secretary-general, Demosisto ● Edith Yeung -- partner, 500 Startups (Greater China)


● Hassan Akkad – documentary filmmaker ● Michael Barber, chair, Office for Students board, UK ● Laura Bates – founder, Everyday Sexism Project ● Tiernan Brady – director, Equality Campaign of Australia ● Suli Breaks – Poet ● Matt Brittin – president, EMEA business and operations, Google ● Emily Brothers – politician and disability rights activist ● Nick Clegg – former deputy prime minister, UK ● Claire Fox – director, Academy of Ideas ● Ian Goldin – director, Oxford Martin programme on tech and economic change, University of Oxford ● Sam Gyimah, minister of state, universities and sciences, UK Government ● Kenny Imafidon – co-founder, ClearView Research ● Philippe Legrain – author and founder, Open Political Economy Network ● Yascha Mounk – author and lecturer, Harvard University ● Jesse Norman, parliamentary under-secretary of department of transport, UK Government ● Musa Okwonga – poet and journalist ● Laurie Penny – journalist and author ● Minouche Shafik – director, London School of Economics ● Mustafa Suleyman – co-founder and head of applied AI, DeepMind ● Ece Temelkuran – journalist and author

New York:

● Julissa Arce – social justice advocate and author, “My (Underground) American Dream” ● Steve Bannon – former White House chief strategist ● Monika Bickert – head of product policy and counterterrorism, Facebook ● Michael Clemens – senior fellow, Centre for Global Development ● Amber Heard – actress and activist ● Susan Herman – president, American Civil Liberties Union ● Andrew McLaughlin – co-founder and partner, Higher Ground Labs ● David Miliband – president, International Rescue Committee ● Richard V. Reeves – senior fellow, Brookings Institution ● Linda Sarsour – political activist ● Amartya Sen – professor of economics and philosophy, Harvard University ● Lawrence H. Summers – US Treasury Secretary 1999-2001; president emeritus, Harvard University ● Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies, The Center for Immigration Studies

Those watching the live stream will be able to experience the full agenda across all three cities beginning in Hong Kong, moving on to London and finishing up in New York.

Additional details for the event, including the full programmes and a link to register for the conference, can be found on the Hong Kong, London and New York sites.

To read more about the Open Future initiative, please visit:

If you are a journalist who would like to apply for press accreditation, please contact:

About The Economist ( With a growing global audience and a reputation for insightful analysis and perspective on every aspect of world events, The Economist is one of the most widely recognised and well-read current affairs publications in the world. In addition to the weekly print and digital editions and website, The Economist publishes Espresso, a daily news app, Global Business Review, a bilingual English-Chinese product and Economist VR, a virtual-reality app. Economist Radio produces several podcasts a week and Economist Films produces short- and long-form video. The Economist maintains robust social communities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, LINE, Medium and other social networks. A recipient of many editorial and marketing awards, The Economist was named the most trusted news source by the 2017 Trusting News Project Report.

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