Guest Speaker Profiles


Please click the icon on the left to download the Guest Speaker Profiles

Please click the icon on the left to download the Guest Speaker Profiles

Dr Stephen Tommis
Description: Description: Guest Speaker Dr Stephen TOMMISDr Stephen Tommis is the founding Executive Director of the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE), a post he took up in February 2008. The HKAGE is an initiative to ensure that appropriate provision is made for teachers, parents as well as all gifted students across Hong Kong.
Stephen is a graduate of the University of Dundee (MA First Class Honours), Jesus College, Oxford where he was awarded the D Phil degree and the Institute of Education, London University where he took a PGCE.

After a spell in business working as an antique map dealer, he decided that education was his true vocation and so moved to the south west of England to be a teacher at Sherborne School, an independent secondary school. After one year he was promoted to Head of Department and subsequently to Undermaster. From there he went to The King’s School, Gloucester, as Deputy Head and after three years learning the job, was appointed to be Headmaster of Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, completing a 23 year stint of direct involvement with education.

Between 2003-8 he was the Director of The National Association for Gifted Education (NAGC) in the UK where he led campaigns to get parents’ needs heard in government and schools. 


Description: Nainie trained as an English Literature Teacher in Melbourne, Australia where he completed a masters in Asian Studies at Monash University. He taught in Australia and Brunei and then spent a decade in Hong Kong teaching at King George V School, much of that time as the Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator. He completed the Train the Trainer Program in Gifted Education, Government of South Australia, December 2007 and subsequently established Gifted Leadership Services Limited, a private company with an office in Hong Kong, the business of which is delivering Leadership conferences to gifted secondary students from around the world. He has delivered several academic papers on his leadership model at various gifted conferences around the world and regularly runs training programs for staff, particularly on teaching strategy for the gifted. In 2009, he moved to Muscat, Oman where he accepted a post as Head of Year 12 and a Teacher of English and Theory of Knowledge at The Sultan’s School. He subsequently returned to Hong Kong where he is now working for The Independent Schools Foundation Academy as the Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator.
Dr. David Yong Qin CHEN
Description: Description: ChenYongqinDr. Yongqin David Chen is the Chairman and a Professor of the Department of Geography and Resource Management, and Deputy Director of Center of Strategic Environmental Assessment for China, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

His research and teaching areas include hydrology and water resources management, meteorology and climatology, environmental modeling and regional development. In recent years his research activities have focused on hydrological impacts of global climate change and regional land-use alteration, and low-flow hydrology of watersheds in Pearl River basin, hydrological changes in the Pearl River Delta, and urban water management in Hong Kong. He has published extensively in these areas in international and Chinese journals, as well as book volumes. 

He has been active in serving in various capacities for several universities, professional societies and government advisory committees at local, national, and international levels, including President of the Professional Association for China’s Environment, Honorary Professors of Nankai University, Vice Chair of Commission on Hydrology of Geographical Society of China, Vice Chair of Commission in Water Resources, Chinese Society of Natural Resources, member of Strategic Advisory Committee, Hong Kong Observatory and member of Advisory Committee on the Quality of Water Supplies, Hong Kong SAR Government.

Description: Buchanan is currently engaged by The Independent Schools Foundation Academy in Hong Kong to help design and implement ground-breaking curriculum and college guidance program innovations for, and serve as a multi-facet role model to, secondary students – in both English & Putonghua, which he learned to speak, read, and write via six years of training to-date. 
Samuel earned an MBA (Leadership, International Strategic Management, and Entrepreneurship) from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts (East Asian Studies – China) from Harvard.  He has substantial leadership, general management, and internal/external consulting experience in government, entrepreneurial, and Fortune 500 company contexts around the world.  He is a retired US Navy Commander (Lieutenant Colonel), served as a key aide to national and regional executives in multinational manufacturing and financial services corporations, and was vice president of three entrepreneurial start-ups (In automotive, lighting, and financial services sectors, respectively).  
Samuel has also dedicated himself to extensive community service, life coaching, educational aid, pastoral care, music performances and more.

Mr. Chris DURBIN
Chris Durbin is an Education Adviser for the English Schools Foundation, Hong Kong.  He has been in this position since 2004.  He works alongside ESF principals, teachers and educators to shape the direction of ESF secondary education. To this end he is involved in strategic development, professional development as well as reviews of schools and recruitment of senior and middle leaders.  ESF has 16000 students in 21 institutions including the only English Medium special school in Hong Kong, employing over 1000 teachers and over 1000 support staff. He believes in challenging education for all students regardless of ability.  This is about all students benefitting from being in an environment with students of many different talents.

Chris is passionate about education and environmental education in particular having received a first class degree in geography from the University of Liverpool.  He conducted research into ice cores on glaciers at the University of Manchester and Copenhagen in the early 80s.  He has worked in education for over 25 years, as a teacher, head of department, advisory teacher, education advisor and inspector of schools in the UK.  During the 1990s, he worked for BBC Education adviser at the time when the Internet was new to education and he developed some of the first learning materials available on the net, culminating in GSCE Bitesize, an on line revision programme in addition to educational TV programmes. Latterly, he worked as an education advisor in Staffordshire in the UK, where he created a website a national and international network of geography teachers which won a gold award from the Geographical Association.  Chris is interested in internationalism, having worked with a charity Living Earth to support teachers in Tropical Environments as well as training teachers all over Europe.  In 2007, Chris suffered from myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow which required stem cell transplant and now three years in remission has given him perspectives that enables him to reflect on education in a broad way.

Mr Yaowen Ma
Yaowen Ma is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a double-major degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management & International Relations (with a concentration in East Asian Diplomacy). He is currently enrolled in the Civic Scholars Program in Public Leadership and serves on the leadership board of the Penn International Sustainability Association (PISA). PISA is a joint undergraduate and graduate student organization that promotes the direct involvement of university students in sustainability initiatives by connecting them with their peers and leading experts in business, technology, and government.
Prior to attending the University of Pennsylvania, Yaowen was actively involved in the International Student Leadership Conference as Trainee Mentor, Senior Mentor, and Lead Mentor respectively. Since graduating from King George V School as Deputy Head Boy, he has been academically engaged in issues relating to corporate sustainability and environmental policy. In the summer of 2010, he obtained a research grant to conduct studies on water management in China with three other Penn students. Together, they interviewed government officials and visited water-related infrastructure facilities in five major Chinese cities: Shanghai, Chongqing, Dujiangyan, Dalian, and Beijing. The resulting research paper will be published in both English and Mandarin Chinese and has gained the interest and support of professors at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. Yaowen also represented the University of Pennsylvania at the Walmart Sustainability Business Plan Competition as regional finalists together with a team of four other Penn students.

Mr James SMITH
Description: C:\Users\ArchAngel\Downloads\James Smith.jpgJames Smith is currently the Learning Technologies Coordinator at King George V School, Hong Kong. A graduate and former choral scholar of St John’s College, Oxford, James has lived in Hong Kong for four years and been a teacher for six. Following his time at Oxford (where he graduated with a first-class degree in English Literature) he qualified as a teacher and worked in a comprehensive school in the UK before moving to Hong Kong. His current role comprises the management of a large and very successful 1:1 laptop programme and responsibilities for the strategic development of Learning Technologies. A passionate advocate of the role of technologies in learning, James works with teachers from his school, Hong Kong and around the world to make learning more effective and engaging for students. He has presented at numerous conferences and symposiums and is currently overseeing a software project for the English Schools Foundation which is in use by over 10,000 students.

When he’s not doing that, he is a keen singer and musician. Formerly the MD of ‘Out Of The Blue’, an internationally-acclaimed group of a cappella singers, he organised and promoted shows and tours in nine countries and has performed for a number of international figures including Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and the Norwegian Royal Family. For the last four years, James has sung the national anthems of the finalists of the Hong Kong Sevens Rugby Tournament in front of crowds of 40,000.

James is also getting married in a few days, so most of his organisational energies are now directed towards his wedding!