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Business Opportunities in Asia - 14:00 June 9th 2011
The Ancient India & Iran Trust                                                                               23 Brooklands Avenue Cambridge CB2 8BG

There are 300 eco cities planned for China, 7000km of new roads a year planned for India, a mega-railway from China through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia to Singapore (the Laos section alone is a US $200 billion project where a 20km each side of the railway is intended as a Special Economic Zone) a huge sea port in Myanmar allowing easy access to the Indian Ocean and oil & gas exploration in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. This all leads to massive economic development and huge trade opportunities in Asia.

Sponsored by:                                   Supported by:



Our unique and interesting venue is a large Victorian house set in mature gardens just seven minutes walk from Cambridge Railway Station. The Trust is the only independent charity concerned with the study of early India, Iran & Central Asia, promoting both scholarly research & popular interest in the area and have a library of over 25,000 volumes. See www.indiran.org

The Venue:

The Ancient India & Iran Trust

Following on from our hugely successful Cambridge Chinese New Year reception, the consensus was that a summer reception should be organised to continue the discussion on business opportunities, not just in China but also to include pan-Asian opportunities. See  www.marchpublishing.co.uk/ccny2011.html about our last event.

Event programme:

14:00 Welcome by Nicholas Sims-Williams, Chairman of the Ancient India & Iran Trust.

Session 1: Prof Alan Barrell, Entrepreneur in Residence, Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Alan will lead a discussion on global business opportunities in Asia and will be joined by Hugh Davies CMG, Chairman of the China Association and Board Member of the China-Britain Business Council will be speaking about his recent visit to Chongqing with UK Trade Minister Lord Green where they met with Party Secretary Bo Xilai and visited the Two Rivers New Zone Area, a 1200 sq km Special Economic Zone which includes showcase projects for sustainable / low carbon / eco / green technology development and a One Planet Community.

Session 2: Alan Kell, co-Chair of the UK - China Eco Cities and Green Building Group, a UK and Chinese government and industry initiative speaking on how UK companies can and are engaging with £ multi-billion green building and eco city projects in China and strategic alliances & MOUs with Chinese regions and cities.


Session 3: Dr David Robson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tethys Petroleum Group of Companies, representing the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC). Tethys has significant oil and gas operations in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, David will speak about the business opportunities in Central Asia.

Session 4: Rory Underwood, former England rugby player, speaking on developing the performance of individuals and teams and enhancing the dynamics between teams within organisations.

Session 5: Panel discussion. 

17:00 Networking reception

18:30 End

Tickets are available at just £38 + VAT (£45.60 including VAT)

19:00 Optional VIP dinner

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Other enquires click here



Dr. David Robson

B.Sc., Ph.D, MBA, FGS
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Tethys Petroleum Limited

David RobsonDr. Robson is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tethys Petroleum Limited, an oil & gas exploration & production company focused on Central Asia and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.  Tethys Petroleum produces gas in Kazakhstan (where it also has a potentially significant oil discovery), oil in Uzbekistan and is exploring a large high potential area in Tajikistan where the Company recently made an oil discovery.
Dr. Robson’s career has been primarily in operating oil and gas companies.  He was Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, and one of the founders, of CanArgo Energy Corporation, an AMEX listed exploration & production company operating in Georgia, and Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer and one of the founders of London listed JKX Oil & Gas plc, one of the first international oil and gas companies working in Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. Prior to this he was employed in technical (exploration, operations, petroleum engineering), commercial and managerial positions within Britoil plc, Hamilton Oil (now BHP Petroleum) and Mobil. 

Dr. Robson trained as a geologist, obtaining a First Class B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Geology and a Ph.D in Geochemistry.  He also holds an MBA from the University of Strathclyde with his thesis topic being the European Gas Market.  Dr. Robson has worked on oil and gas projects in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since 1990, establishing the first non-state gas development project in Ukraine, the first non-state drilling in the Ukrainian Black Sea, the first non-state exploration and development wells in Georgia, the first non-state dry gas production in Kazakhstan and the first Production Sharing Contract in Tajikistan.  He has worked in many parts of the former Soviet Union including West Siberia, Sakhalin, the Pechora Sea, Kalmykia, Dagestan, the Caspian and Central Asia.  

He is a Fellow of the Geological Society, a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, a member of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, he holds the Order of Honour for services to the Georgian Hydrocarbon extraction industry, was formerly the energy sector representative on the UK government’s East European Trade Council and was a founder member of the President of Tajikistan’s Consultative Council on Investment.  Dr. Robson has spoken at many international forums on energy related topics in the former Soviet Union and at the “Paris Club” of donor nations.


Rory Underwood

Rory UnderwoodWingman was formed in 2009 by Rory Underwood, a former RAF fast jet pilot and ex England rugby international. Using his flying and rugby experiences, Rory has combined his knowledge and methodology with ten years of being a management consultant to help organisations get the most out of their people.

Wingman is a Performance Consultancy that helps organisations harness the latent potential of the most important part of any business – people. Wingman facilitates individuals and teams within organisation to better understand how they can release that potential, creating high performance teams. Individuals that better understand the part they play in a team creates an effective and efficient dynamic within an organisation that make success easier to achieve.


Prof Alan Barrell

Entrepreneur in Residence, Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Distinguished Guest Professor at Xiamen University, Visiting Professor at Shanghai College of Science and Technology and at the Fujian International School of Economics and Business, Fuzhou. Alan has spent almost 30 years in senior executive positions in technology based industries and has become one of Cambridge's most articulate promoters of entrepreneurship. Following a scientific training and six years working in clinical laboratory medicine in the NHS at the start of his career, he worked around the world with Baxter Healthcare and was its UK Chief Executive for six years. Subsequently, he joined Domino Printing Sciences plc as Managing Director. Alan BarrellDomino became a public company and now has a market capitalization of more than half a billion euros. Following six years with Domino ,he joined Willett International Group, an industrial electronics company, and was its CEO, building its global business into a major success.

He was then instrumental in launching the Cambridge Gateway Fund, a 70millions Euros fund, to support early stage technology businesses in the region and became its Managing Partner,and has been involved with a number of charities including the Papworth Trust, the Royal Society of Arts, the Centre for Tomorrow's Company and The Prince's Trust. He is currently International Advisor to Youth Business China. He works closely with a number of Science Parks and Innovation Centres in Cambridge, elsewhere in the UK and overseas. He received The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2006. In October 2009 The Regional Strategic Health Authority for the East of England appointed Alan Chairman of the NHS Innovation Council and in November he accepted an invitation to act as Chairman of the External Advisory Board of NACUE – the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs, an organization which grew in its first year to have 40,000 members and embrace 80 University Enterprise Associations. Alan is a member of Cambridge Angels and Sophia Business Angels ( France ) and advises numerous early stage companies internationally. Alan is also the Founding Partner of Cambridge Worldwide Associates.


Nicholas Sims-Williams

Chairman of the Ancient India & Iran Trust, Research Professor of Iranian and NicholasCentral Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in the Centre for Iranian Studies. He studied Iranian languages and Sanskrit at Cambridge University and went on to do a Ph.D. there under Dr. Ilya Gershevitch, his thesis being an edition of a fragmentary manuscript containing Christian texts translated from Syriac into Sogdian, the Iranian language of medieval Samarkand. This was later published as The Christian Sogdian manuscript C2, Berlin 1985, and awarded the Prix Ghirshman of the Institut de France. Professor Sims-Williams was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1988 and is also a member of the French and Austrian Academies. He is particularly interested in the Middle Iranian languages of pre-Islamic Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, being equally fascinated by the languages themselves, with their Indo-European roots, and by their Central Asian setting, with its stimulating mixture of languages, cultures, and religions.


Alan Kell

Co-Chair of the UK - China Eco Cities and Green Building Group; Managing Director, Intelligent & Green Systems Limited. Alan Kell is a renowned leader of world-class Alan Kellresearch and consultancy programmes focussed on delivering the wide-ranging benefits of intelligent & green innovation in buildings, communities and cities. He operates as a governmental advisor, programme director, and international consultant in this field. His career achievements include:
- Founder of Intelligent & Green Systems Limited, providers of international consultancy, research and programme management on the integration of ICT into the built environment.

- Research director for the development of the UK-China road-map for the delivery of world- class eco-cities.

- Industry co-chair of the UK-China Eco-cities and Green Building Working Group.

- Leader of the British delegation to the Beijing Intelligent, Green and Energy Efficient Buildings Expo since its launch in 2005.

- Co-founder of the INTEGER intelligent & green buildings programme in the UK, Hong Kong and China.

- Co-founder and first chairman of the world's first MSc in Intelligent Buildings at the University of Reading.

- Founder of the Centre of Excellence for Intelligence in Buildings and Executive Director of the European Intelligent Building Group.


Hugh Davies CMG

Hugh Davies CMG, Chairman of the China Association and Board Member of the China-Britain Business Council will be speaking about his recent visit to Chongqing with UK Trade Minister Lord Green where they met with Party Secretary Bo Xilai and visited the Two Rivers New Zone Area, a 1200 sq km Special Economic Zone which includes showcase projects for sustainable / low carbon / eco / green technology development and a One Planet Community.

Hugh Davies with President Hu Jintao in London

Hugh was born in India, educated at Cambridge, and spent 33 years in the British Diplomatic Service, much of it in East Asia, including China, Hong Kong and Singapore. In the 1980s he headed the British Embassy trade promotion section in Beijing as Commercial Counsellor and in the early 1990s he was Senior British Trade Commissioner in Hong Kong. His final overseas posting was as Ambassador leading the British team in the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group during the last four years of negotiations for the Handover in Hong Kong in 1997.

Hugh with HKSAR
Hugh Davies with HKSAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang Nov 2005

His final home assignment was to arrange and escort the British Prime Minister’s 1998 visit to China. In 1999 he took up an appointment in the insurance business. He has subsequently worked in both Prudential Plc and Old Mutual Plc, planning their entry strategies into the China life insurance market. He has also helped companies in the automobile, energy, and security sectors seeking an understanding of China.

He has a lifetime experience of living, working and getting to understand much of Asia. As a child he lived in India and in Singapore. During his FCO career, he lived in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He was also at various times responsible for UK relations with these countries and also with Japan and Korea. During his time with Prudential, he was a regular visitor to most of the countries of East Asia. He knows India, Malaysia, and

Hugh with Wen
Hugh Davies with Premier Wen Jiabao in London
Hugh with Deng
Hugh Davies with Deng Xiaoping Aug 1985

Vietnam well, and has visited Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Korea and Taiwan in a business capacity in recent years. He has visited China at least 3 to 4 times a year in recent years.

Hugh is a Chinese linguist. Between 1999 and 2005 he was an Executive Director of Prudential Corporation Asia Ltd and Senior Group Adviser Asia for Prudential Plc. He assisted in Prudential’s expansion into six countries in Asia over this period, including China. On leaving Prudential in early 2005 he accepted a 12 months’ assignment with Old Mutual and has been instrumental in their entry into the China market in early 2006.

As an independent consultant, he also worked for 12 months with MG Rover in 2002/03 during their attempts to find a Chinese partner. In 2004/05, he carried out research and analysis projects on Chinese energy procurement for both Middle East Consultancy (MEC) and for JETRO. With Orient Asian Partners, established in 2005,. clients have included, not only Old Mutual, but also a major international security services firm seeking a better understanding of China’s oil and gas sector.

Hugh is a regular speaker at China related conferences. He spoke at the EU China Summit in The Hague in December 2004. In 2005, he spoke at a Windsor Energy Group seminar on China and the Middle East, an Economist China Business Conference, the Association of British Insurers’ Annual Conference, a Baker &McKenzie Business Forum on Emerging Markets, a Chatham House Conference on Political Risk, and a financial services conference in Shanghai in late October. To date in 2006 he has been a panellist at a Foreign Policy Centre seminar in February.

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