2015 REDUX: Shanghai Global Conference Featuring Conversation with Disney’s Bob Iger

President C. L. Max Nikias presents Bob Iger with USC jacket as Willow Bay looks on.

The 2015 USC Global Conference was held October 29-31 in Shanghai, China, at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai. Drawing a record crowd of more than 700 registered guests, Shanghai was the largest and most successful USC Global Conference in the event’s history.

Those in attendance gleaned insight into “Innovations for a Rapidly Changing World” from leading global executives and academics, including Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

Iger was featured in a conversation with Willow Bay, the Director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, during the opening plenary of the conference. Bay covered a wide range of topics in her interview of the iconic CEO, from the design and construction of the new Shanghai Disney Resort scheduled to open in 2016 to the globalization of Disney’s content and brand.Iger_Solo

For the last 10 years, Iger has directed Disney’s growth based on three key priorities: creativity, global growth and innovative technology.

“People love great stories. We try to tell stories that touch their hearts,” said Iger. “Innovation is critical, but telling great stories is where it starts. People tend to overthink that.”

According to Iger, the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort may be the best example of those three priorities in a single implementation.

Other conference sessions showcased cutting-edge innovations in business, science, technology, medicine, and the arts and entertainment that are changing the world and explored the opportunities they present for the future. These advancements reinforce the university’s commitment to addressing the world’s most intractable problems and creating solutions that have truly global impact.

“Our Shanghai Global Conference exceeded our expectations,” said Anthony Bailey, USC Vice President of Strategic and Global Initiatives. “From the participation of some of China’s most influential executives to the hospitality of our host city, we have surpassed all previous conferences in both content and participation. USC’s alumni turned out in force to witness an exceptional event.”

The gala dinner opened with the Thousand Hands dance.

The gala dinner opened with the Thousand Hands dance.

The three-day conference drew to a close with the Gala Dinner – complete with traditional entertainment acts and Chinese television personalities as masters of ceremonies – where President C. L. Max Nikias honored USC Trustee Ming Hsieh for his role as co-chair of the event and for his overall contribution to the university.

“Through the power of his impressive intellect and the perseverance of his courageous spirit, Ming Hsieh stands as a shining symbol of the Chinese culture and the American Dream,” said President Nikias, “We are proud of his many contributions and are grateful for the work he has put into making this Global Conference our most successful ever.”

President Nikias honors Ming Hsieh for his tireless contributions to the university as a Trustee.

President Nikias honors Ming Hsieh for his tireless contributions to the university as a Trustee.

USC’s Global Conference series is a biennial event held in major world cities that brings together renowned academics and influential business leaders to present and discuss the latest research results across the full range of academic disciplines and their influence on the Pacific Rim. This year’s international event was co-chaired by Ming Hsieh, Chairman and CEO of Fulgent Therapeutics and a USC Trustee, and Michael Quick, USC Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs.

The USC Global Conference 2015 was presented by Hony Capital, a leading private equity firm in China. Additional presenting sponsors were Apple Foundation, a local charity foundation focused on education and healthcare services, and Antaeus Group, a prominent Beijing real estate development company.

To learn more about the 2015 USC Global Conference held in Shanghai, China, please visit https://globalconference2015.usc.edu/.


The 2017 USC Global Conference will be held in Tokyo, Japan, at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo from Sept. 21-23, 2017. Advanced registration is highly recommended as the conference is expected to sell out.