Brisbane has attracted a rich array of technology pioneers, scientists, entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors and new-world thinkers to its major curtain-raiser event ahead of the G20 Leaders Summit in November.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the Brisbane Global Cafe would boost’s the city’s status as the “capital of the world” during the G20 week in November.

Speaking at the official launch of the Brisbane Global Cafe, Cr Quirk said the event at Brisbane City Hall on 12-13 November was attracting some of the world’s most exceptional and influential thinkers as well as support from global media

“It’s a bold concept and a first for a G20 host city,” he said.

“With the leaders of the world’s major nations and their support teams, the international media and the Global Cafe in Brisbane, we have an unprecedented opportunity.

“I have repeatedly emphasised that, to attract investment, students, skills and talent, business meetings and tourists, Brisbane has to be on the radar around the globe.

“The Global Cafe will help us extend ‘Team Brisbane’ to a broader audience of influencers and advocates and give our local business, government and academic community access to progressive thinking from around the world.

“The event will also attract hundreds of participants and help drive business for local hotels, restaurants and retail businesses.”

At today’s launch, Cr Quirk announced the first group of speakers for the Global Cafe. More high-profile speaker names will be announced in coming weeks.

“The G20 will be the largest gathering of world leaders Australia has ever hosted and it’s a once-in-a-generation chance for Brisbane to step up and take its place among the emerging new world cities of the 21st century,” he said.

“The Global Cafe, led by economic development board Brisbane Marketing, has attracted phenomenal interest from both world-leading speakers and corporate partners including global media organisations BBC World News and Bloomberg.

“While the program is still being finalised, I can reveal confirmed international speakers will include: Chinese business leader Xu Weiping; renowned biochemist Prof Christopher Leaver from University of Oxford; US demographer Alan Berube; Chinese digital media mogul Liu Shengyi from Tencent; Israeli Digital entrepreneurGadi Mazor and Thai retail developer Chadatip Chutrakul of Siam Piwat.

“Locally, the line-up includes cochlear implant pioneer Professor Robert Shepherd who is leading the development of a bionic eye; Chairman of Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism Djawa Burarrwanga; intensive care medicine director at RBWH Professor Jeffrey Lipman; antibiotic-resistant bacteria researcher Professor David Paterson and Young Australian of the Year 2012 and founder 2Mar Robotics Marita Cheng.”

Cr Quirk said the program would boast about 70 speakers – many of whom will also be engaging with local businesses while here – with up to 1000 people in the audience, including a large media contingent.

“I am also pleased to announce that the event will be live-streamed online and broadcast in King George Square as well as covered by local and global media outlets,” he said.

The event would explore important issues around improving human life, developing cities that match future needs, powering the future economy, unlocking the opportunities of the digital age and exploring the emerging frontiers of tourism.

“The November event will be the highlight but the Global Cafe also includes a website rich with thought-provoking content aimed at generating discussion ( as well as a series of events between August and November and an online information and discussion forum,” he said.

“Anyone interested in participating or attending the Brisbane Global Cafe event can register their interest on the global cafe website.”

Cr Quirk last week announced five high-profile identities had been appointed as Brisbane Global Cafe Chairs to steer the conversations:

  • Brisbane cervical cancer vaccine pioneer Professor Ian Frazer
  • national tourism identity Christopher Brown AM
  • UK-based advisor for cities and business Greg Clark
  • CSIRO executive Dr Alex Wonhas
  • international entrepreneurial leadership and business growth expert Dr Jana Matthews.

“I’d also like to recognise the contribution of the co-chairs: CEO of QIMR Berghofer Professor Frank Gannon, Regional Director Pacific for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chris Flynn and CEO of the International Energy Centre Tim McLennan,” he said.

“While the official Brisbane G20 summit will focus on achieving stronger economic and employment growth and dealing with future economic shocks, the global cafe will add a new dimension to the G20 summit.

“It’s a first for a G20 host city and I hope the concept will be adopted by other G20 host cities in the future.

Brisbane Marketing CEO, John Aitken, said international and Australian media, industry thought-leaders, business leaders, academia, and individuals with a particular interest in one or more of the themes would be encouraged to take part.

“This program has been a specifically-targeted global outreach of people we’d like to include in the Brisbane story going forward,” Mr Aitken said.

“We will be seeking to continue to work collaboratively with them to create investment opportunities that build Brisbane’s future as an emerging global city and a major player in the Asia Pacific.”