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Getting old with splendid physical and mental health
Global urbanisation is creating new opportunities for cities —and serious challenges as well. Seeking winning solutions to help build better cities, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is convening the Philanthropy for Better Cities Forum 2018. The Forum will provide a public platform to address pressing metropolitan social issues. Everyone knows sports are an excellent way to improve our physical health, but it is also an elixir for mental health and empowerment.
Building on the foundation laid down by the successful 2016 inaugural Forum—this year's Forum will continue to challenge the audience for the best possible ideas for creating a better urban environment for all of us. Five thematic topics will be discussed at the Forum, namely: Leveraging the Market, Sustainable Development, Maximising Impact, Youth and Creativity, plus Health and Well-being.
The know-how in promoting sports
Countless stories are told about how sports can change people’s lives: Elderly people practicing in tai chi and yoga remain surprisingly healthy; middle-aged men forming synchronised swimming teams to take a break from their mundane lives; at-risk kids taking soccer courses and retrieving a purpose and pleasure in life. Sports are known to help us both physically and mentally and can be a strong tool in making positive social change.
To address this important issue, the Forum has invited sports super stars Michael Phelps and Yao Ming to join the closing plenary session. Yet they will not be sharing their experience on the basketball court or in a swimming pool— they will be discussing their experience in promoting sports in the community.
Their topic will be titled Sports and Cities: How can we use sports to improve well-being and achieve social good in cities? Both top athletes have set up foundations to promote sports for children, and they will join other speakers to explore the contribution sports participation can make to society.
In this plenary session, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Matthew Spacie, founder of Magic Bus; Philip Mok, President of Hong Kong Tennis Association, and Carol Yu, Producer and Host of Phoenix TV will also share their insights in how to promote sports.
Raising mental health awareness
Urban life is perhaps best known for constant noise, stress and congestion. Since 1930s, researchers first suggested that urban living might increase schizophrenia risk. Other studies also revealed that growing up in the city doubles the risk of developing psychosis later in life. For instance, depressive disorders are the fourth leading cause of the global disease burden according to WHO. So there is a dire need for an orchestrated effort to solve this problem— using wise urban planning, and a social support network and education.
City dwellers often face higher rates of crime, pollution, social isolation and other environmental stressors than those living in rural areas. For years studies have consistently linked the risk of developing schizophrenia to urban environments.
The meta analysis by Reddy and Chandrashekhar(1998) revealed higher prevalence of mental disorders in urban area i.e., 80.6%, whereas it was 48.9% in rural area. Mental disorders primarily composed of depression and neurotic disorders.
In order to look for solutions in raising awareness of mental health issues, the Forum has a designated session: Mental Wellness: Are cities doing enough to tackle the rise of mental health challenges?
The key speakers at this session are Moitreyee Sinha, CEO of global mental health initiative citiesRISE; Dr Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Dr York Chow, former Secretary for Food and Health of HKSAR; and Chiu Chi Yue, Professor of Psychology at Chinese University of Hong Kong. These experts will discuss the best practices philanthropists should keep in mind when tackling these issues.
Aging with grace
Aging is another issue every city needs to face, especially large developed cities such as Hong Kong. According to the Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong’s population aged 65 and over is projected to more than double from 11.7% in 2003 to 27% in 2033.
This demographic challenge means there is an increasing demand for welfare and healthcare, even transportation. In another words, it is vital to create an inclusive city to help people of all ages. In the session: Age-friendly Cities: How can urban planning respond to the needs of older people? Experts from around the world will share their ideas about policy planning and implementation in catering to older people’s needs. They include: Jane Barratt, the Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing; Alexandre Kalache, Co-President of the International Longevity Centres Global Alliance; Dr Law Chi-kwong, Secretary for Labour and Welfare of HKSAR and Terry Lum, Head of Department of Social Work and Social Administration of the University of Hong Kong.
The speakers will identity common patterns and challenges seen across diverse contexts and introduce some of the best solutions emerging from evidence and innovation.
Some 60 distinguished speakers, including Nobel Laureate Economist Professor James J. Heckman from the University of Chicago, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, as well as other renowned academics, government officials, enablers and influencers, will also speak at the 2018 Forum.
Being the first discussion of its kind in Asia to focus on metropolitan social issues, the Forum will take place on September 20-21 at The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It will offer philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, policy-makers, academia and NGOs from around the world a platform to exchange views, and assist cross-sector collaboration and cultivate long-term partnerships and engagement.
This is undoubtedly a must-not-miss opportunity to meet over 1,000 international delegates from the philanthropy sector to exchange views on the most urgent social needs of 21st century cities.
Philanthropy for Better Cities Forum