Christina Yan Zhang
CEO, The Metaverse Institute
Christina is a pioneer in the metaverse. She started her master research on the topic in 2006 using metaverse to develop international strategies for universities worldwide. In 2012, she completed a PhD in using digital twin services in the metaverse to simulate and augment construction, engineering and architecture projects.
Christina is an award-winning business leader who has 16 years’ experience turning forward-thinking ideas into ultra-high growth business with global impact. She has extensive experience working with government ministers, universities presidents, and business CEOs on industry, innovation and skills strategies.
She worked for QS, the leading world university rankings agency, between 2013 and 2020, leading China business. Starting from scratch, Christina grew the UK-headquartered firm’s profile and commercial success in China. In January 2016, China’s Vice Premier highlighted the use of QS rankings in a keynote speech, with the rankings impacting 5 years funding allocations to 3005 universities across China with 48 million students, and an annual budget of £150bn.
Christina was the first Chinese elected to the national executive of the UK National Union of Students (NUS) since its foundation in 1922, and represented the interests of one million international and EU students studying at 600 UK higher and further education institutions who contribute £30bn a year to the UK economy. She has sat on 20+ advisory committees for UNESCO, the World Bank, the Commonwealth, the EU, and UK Governments. She led many successful global campaigns including the future of work and skills, equality, diversity, inclusion, and international strategy. She led a successful campaign against the Home Secretary Theresa May's proposed legislation to restrict foreign students' visas, which persuaded the Minister to abandon some of the proposed policies. Christina also contributed to the establishment of the Commonwealth Students Association, representing 2 billion youth across 54 countries. Between 2012 and 2013, she worked in the UK Parliament developing policy for the Shadow Business Secretary’s team.
For two years Christina contributed to the BBC as a campus journalist. She has seven years’ experience as a TV presenter for People’s Daily Online, interviewing heads of state and the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies on global issues. As a bridge-builder between the government, business, education, and innovation sector, she regularly meets with top leaders, is a frequent keynote speaker at high level events, and is interviewed by top media.