MIT Professional Education Spreads Its Wings to Hong Kong

MIT Professional Education broke new ground for both location and duration of one of its courses—its first teaching event in Hong Kong and its first-ever event compressed into a single day.

Professor Kent Larson, Director of the MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group, taught Beyond Smart Cities to a group of about 30 in June in Hong Kong. The opportunity arose because of two other MIT-related events held there at the same time: the launch of the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, and EmTech Hong Kong, a conference on emerging technologies organized by MIT’s Technology Review magazine. The goal of the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node is for students, faculty, researchers and businesses from both locales to work together on various entrepreneurial and research projects to help students learn how to commercialize their ideas more quickly.

Beyond Smart Cities focuses on new technologies to improve the livability of rapidly growing cities while also emphasizing sustainable practices. “It’s probably the course with the most international participation we offer,” says Lily Fu, Associate Director of International Marketing for MIT Professional Education. ”The topic has garnered a lot of interest in the Middle East and from emerging economies like India, and it’s something that a lot of governments are really investing in.”

Not surprisingly, the Hong Kong course attendees were primarily from the public sector in Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. The class challenged attendees to come up with ideas on how to achieve MIT President Rafael Reif’s goal of significantly reducing CO2 emissions from transportation by MIT staff, faculty and students.