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Intellectual Hub

Featured Concordia Presents

Concordia has long been a hub for intellectual and cultural activity. in Shanghai. Whether through professional-led workshops for students and teachers or our original Concordia Presents speaker series, the school continues to attract best-selling authors and leading subject matter experts from around the world to engage with the community. Since 2009, Concordia's Intellectual Hub has welcomed more than 30 artists and authors to our campus and hosted over 35 Concordia Presents events.

Past Years' Speakers

Over the years, we have been honored to welcome a host of speakers and subject matter experts to our campus.


In Conversation with Ishmael Beah

Activist and New York Times Best-selling author Ishmael Beah shared his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone and read from his memoir "A Long Way Home: Memoirs of a Boy Solider" as part of a special community event. Beah has dedicated his to speaking and advocating on behalf of those affected by war violence. His memoir, published in over 40 languages, was named one of the top nonfiction books of 2007 by Time Magazine.

"Fire Road" Author Kim Phuc

Joining the lineup of keynote speakers at the 2018 GINMUN Conference was author and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Kim Phuc, who delivered a message of love and tolerance to an attentive audience of young changemakers.

Memoirs and Journals with Author Jack Gantos

As part of 2018 Elementary School Book Week, author Jack Gantos schooled students on the art of journaling and memoir writing at a special Family Night event. TheNewberry Medal-winning novelist entertained the Concordia community with hilarious yet heartening stories from his life in hopes of inspiring others to share their own stories.

Painter Lu: Through the Eyes of the Folk Artist

Renowned Chinese folk artist Lu Yong Zhong came to Concordia as artist in residence to work directly with teachers and students in the classroom, demonstrating the techniques for creating his signature Chinese peasant paintings.
Lu is a member of the Shanghai Artist Association and is a Shanghai Intangible Cultural Heritage bearer. He has devoted himself to the creation of peasant paintings, and has held individual exhibitions of his work in China, Japan, India, and Europe. His works have been widely collected by museums at home and abroad.

Perfect Harmony: An Afternoon of Jazz with Yale's Redhot and Blue Choir

Redhot & Blue, Yale University's oldest co-ed a cappella choir, has brought its award-winning sound to venues across the world, including Concordia's Rittmann Theatre. The group, known for its innovative arrangements of jazz standards that infuse American Songbook classics with the creative dynamism of the collegiate a cappella tradition, performed a free afternoon concert as part of whirlwind visit to Shanghai.

An Intimate Chat with NY Times Best-selling Author M.T. Anderson

Celebrated young-adult author M.T. (Tobin) Anderson visited the Concordia campus to talk about books, writing and the life of the author. Anderson, a National Book Award winner, discussed his influential dystopian novel, Feed, and shared insights into his creative process with the high school Author Studies class.

Cori Metzgar: Sports Training with a Pro

Director of Sports Performance at Western Oregon University Cori Metzgar to work with the athletes from our high school sports teams. Metzgar, who was named Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association in 2015, worked with each team in the weight room, demonstrating lifts and workout specifically designed for their respective sport. She also showed them how to perform dynamic warm ups and proper stretching to prevent injury and help them have longer, healthier athletic careers.

John Zola: Are Your Students Really 21st Century Learners?

We hear so much about “21st Century Skills,” but are students learning the most important of these skills? Today’s schools do a good job of teaching core academic skills, but what about those that will define a student’s future? Socratic seminar expert John Zola shared his ideas regarding central skills for the 21st century with educators around the city at interactive and thought provoking teacher workshop hosted at Concordia.


Dick Termes
Up, Down and All Around: The Illusionary Artworks of Dick Termes

Internationally acclaimed artist Dick Termes spent a week with Concordia students, discussing his beautifully detailed and mathematically precise paintings, known as Termespheres. Created using six-point perspective, his spherical works of art are revolving three-dimensional space-time explorations that offer an inside-out view of the world. Termes held workshops for teachers and students wherein he shared with them his approach and techniques for painting on this non-traditional canvas. He also held an artist talk that was open to the public.

Brazen Brass 5
Bold as Brass

The award-winning US-based quintet visited Concordia just in time for the holidays. These skillful musicians worked with students in the classroom as they prepared for a very special holiday concert. The group also performed with student musicians at the high school band & strings concert.

d’Arcy Lunn
Want to Make a Difference?
Start Small

Concordia welcomed d’Arcy Lunn, a UNICEF Ambassador, from the JUMP Foundation to lead students through the global goals, the Teaspoons of Change program, and Polio Points—all of which showed students how the seemingly small choices they make every day can make a huge difference in the fight to end poverty, achieve equality, and empower a sustainable relationship with the planet.

Dr. Mosaka FallaH, 2014 TIME's Person of the Year

Harvard-educated epidemiologist and immunologist Dr. Mosaka Fallah was one of the leading health officials fighting the spread of the disease in his home country of Liberia. While on campus, he presented a lecture to students in the Epidemiology class, a new high school interdisciplinary studies course.

Paul Andersen, The YOutube Science Guru

Celebrated science teacher and educational consultant Paul Andersen spent a week working with students and teachers in K-12 science classrooms. Andersen, who has educated thousands of students as part of the wildly popular Youtube Edu Guru virtual classroom series, also met with parents at a special reception where he shared his thoughts on current teaching trends and challenges in science education.

Stuart Sharpless, Cinematographer and Drone Pilot

Students got a bird's-eye view of their campus and some invaluable insight into the film industry from Stuart Sharpless, director of Spontaneous Combustion Productions. His Hong Kong-based company has filmed aerial drone footage for action-packed Hollywood blockbusters such as Transformers 4 and Now You See Me 2. Sharpless discussed his work with students and faculty and worked closely with Concordia's Student Media Services team, sharing with them industry tricks and techniques for getting the most effective aerial shots on the drones they use for their school filming projects.


Tim Heinze

Changing Lives One Cup at a Time: The story of Hani Coffee Co. and it’s impact in Southern Yunnan.

Since 2009, Tim Heinze has been working and living in Southern Yunnan among China’s minority coffee farmers. Coffee is one of the world’s largest employers of people and as such has the ability to connect lives across the globe. Pu’er, though traditionally known as a tea-producing region, has 50% of agricultural land being designated for coffee production representing just under 1% of the global coffee production. Our pursuit is high quality, specialty coffee while working to improve the livelihoods of farmers in the area. Through education, health, and water-based projects, our team seeks to not only impact an industry but the lives of those involved. Come hear more of Heinze’s story and the work he has been involved with in Southern Yunnan.

Polong Lin

The Age of Big Data

Data is everywhere. And when analyzed and applied, its uses and benefits are virtually limitless. But how can we use data to better ourselves and the world? Join Polong Lin of IBM and Big Data University as he leads a workshop on how to use big data to gain knowledge and insight on the world and its problems.

David Begbie

Changing a World in Need

David Begbie is the Director of Crossroads Foundation’s experiential simulation programs and a senior spokesman for the humanitarian aid and development organization, headquartered in Hong Kong. Over the past 20 years, David has spoken widely about the work of this organization, representing them for the press, educational institutions, business corporations, consular and United Nations events. Crossroads’ experiential programs have seen over 140,000 participants engage in simulations, including attendees at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.


David Silbey

Exterminate the Foreigner: The Boxer Rebellion as a Popular Uprising in China, 1900.

In 1900, a Chinese secret society went after foreigners with a vengeance culminating in a chaotic three-way war involving eight western powers. Join us as author and Cornell history professor David Sibley discusses the reality of this rebellion, which included captive diplomats, embedded reporters, mystical rituals, and the capture of Beijing.

Tracy Drain

Unravelling Mysteries Beyond Earth

Have you ever wondered about space missions taking place beyond our atmosphere? Join NASA’s Lead Systems Engineer, Tracy Drain, as she speaks about the Juno Mission to Jupiter and shares some of the tools and techniques used by her team as they uncover new details and
insights about our universe.

Scott Anderson

Choosing Happiness

Join us as dynamic inspirational speaker, Scott Anderson, shares his unique blend of humor and insight on choosing happiness in the face of unexpected circumstances and unwanted obstacles. Born with cerebral palsy and spending much of his life in a wheelchair, Anderson understands that while one can never eliminate life’s challenges, one can learn to appreciate every single day.



IBM Software Group Asia Pacific

Dr. Wang, Vice President of IBM Software Group Asia Pacific, is the featured guest speaker and will lead a discussion on tools to manage the tremendous amount of data produced today- fundamental for a corporation’s or organization’s success! Dr. Wang is currently Director of China Development Laboratories and oversees 4000 software engineers and architects across Asia. Before he came to Asia Pacific, Dr. Wang was a Director at Silicon Valley Lab where he led High Performance On-Demand Solutions (HiPODS) organization.

Richard Sobol

The Traveling Photographer

Join us as award-winning photographer and author discusses the role of creativity and expression in life and reflects on the many changes and new roads that he has traveled during his career as a photo-journalist. This event will capture the imagination of adults and students of all ages.

Alexandra Zapruder
Author of Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust

According to Publishers Weekly, Zapruder “has done a great service to history and the future. . . These writings will certainly impress themselves on the memories of all readers.” Ms. Zapruder is the featured speaker for the 6th Annual Shanghai History Day at Concordia International School Shanghai.

Peter Feigl

Child of the Holocaust: Personal Testament of Survival

Join Peter Feigl, child survivor of the Holocaust now in his eighties, as he shares his childhood diary and the testimony of his rescue through the courage of the entire village of Le Chambon, France.

Cathryn Berger Kaye

An Innovative Look at 21st Century Skills, The Service Learning Link

Join us as Cathryn Berger Kaye, president of CBK Associates, an international service learning and education consultancy, leads a lively discussion on results of integrating 21st Century competencies and service learning. Hear how hidden talents are revealed and skills and knowledge transferred to new situations.


Dr. Ravi Zacharias
Making Sense of Life:
What Does it Mean to Be Human?

Does a beating heart make one human? Who or what determines the value of human life? Join Dr. Zacharias, author, apologist and Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University, as he addresses these questions and more in an evening exploring what it means to be human.

Dr. David Christian

Big History in 60 Minutes

How did the universe increase in complexity from the simplicity of space to the urban pace of Shanghai? Join historian, award-winning author and lead scholar on the Big History Project, a Bill Gates collaboration, for a 60-minute journey across the ages. In 60 minutes, Dr. David Christian will introduce Big History, the newly emerging inter-disciplinary study of the nearly 14 billion year history of the Universe. Big History revolves around several key principles: Thresholds of Increasing Complexity and Emergent Properties, Goldilocks Conditions, and Collective Learning. This is a fascinating approach in creating a suitable framework for studying the history of the universe.

Dr. Stephen Shore

Life on and Slightly to the Right of the Autism Spectrum

Join us as Dr. Shore, author, professor and President Emeritus of the Asperger’s Association of New England, discusses his personal journey along the autism spectrum and presents his research on matching best practice to the needs of those with autism.

Katie Smith Milway

One Hen Project

Join us as best-selling author of One Hen, Inc., discusses how her books have sparked a global social entrepreneurship movement where students leverage some of their $50 million in pocket money to impact countries around the world.

Darrel Falk

Evolution Through a New Lens

Darrel Falk, Ph.D, President of BioLogos and author of Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds between Faith and Biology, discusses the meeting points and tensions between science and faith.


Mara Hvistendahl

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men

MARA HVISTENDAHL is a correspondent with Science magazine and a contributor to publications ranging from Foreign Policy to Popular Science. She is also the author of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. Shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and named a Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2011, a Discover Magazine 2011 Must-Read, and a Slate Best Book of 2011, Unnatural Selection shows how sex selection has contributed to the global disappearance of tens of millions of females. The book details how that gap is transforming communities — and how the West helped spark the problem.

Dr. Brent D. Glass

Public Memory in America: From Civil War to Civil Rights.

DR. BRENT D. GLASS is a national leader in the preservation, interpretation and promotion of history. Glass is a public historian who pioneered influential oral history and material culture studies, an author, television presence and international speaker on cultural diplomacy and museum management.

As director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (the world’s largest museum devoted to telling the story of America) from 2002-2011, Glass led a two-year, $87 million renovation and development of 20 new exhibitions for the 2008 reopening, including the major exhibitions on The Star-Spangled Banner; Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life and On the Water: Stories from Maritime America, and 80 public programs and 2,500 theater performances.

Glass earned his doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1980), a master’s degree in American Studies from New York University (1971) and bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College (1969). He also completed the program for government executives at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1994). He writes extensively on topics ranging from state-of-the-museum blogs to public memory, historic preservation and industrial history.

Dr. Feng Shan Ho

Shanghai: Rescue & Salvation During the Holocaust.

During World War II, those seeking to escape Nazi occupation had precious few options. Dr. Feng Shan Ho, Chinese consul to Austria, took heroic action to save thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution by issuing visas to Shanghai. On September 16, Concordia presents a rare discussion with psychologist and author, Dr. Eva Fogelman and Manli Ho, daughter of famed rescuer Dr. Feng Shan Ho, examining why some took righteous action toward the Jews and how Shanghai became a refuge for thousands during World War II.