Dr Christina Yan Zhang

Metaverse– PhD(2012): Using Metaverse to augment construction, engineering and architecture process”

Christina is a pioneer in the metaverse. She started her master research on the topic in 2006 to develop international strategies for universities worldwide. In 2012, she completed a PhD in using digital twin for the construction Industry.

Christina is an award-winning leader with 17 years’ experience turning visionary ideas into business success. She has extensive experience working with UN leaders, government ministers, universities presidents, and Fortune 500 CEOs on innovation. She worked for QS, the world university rankings agency, between 2013 and 2020, as China Director. Starting from scratch, she grew the UK-headquartered firm’s success in China. In January 2016, China’s Vice Premier highlighted the use of QS rankings in a speech, with the rankings impacting 5 years funding allocations to 3005 universities with 48 million students, and a budget of £750bn.

As an independent candidate, Christina was the first Chinese elected to the national executive of the UK National Union of Students since 1922, and represented the interests of one million international students studying at 600 UK higher and further education institutions who contribute £30bn a year to the UK economy.

She has sat on 20+ committees for UNESCO, World Bank, the Commonwealth, the EU, and UK Governments. She led many successful global campaigns on international students’ visa changes, the future of work and skills, equality, diversity, inclusion, and international strategy. Christina contributed to the establishment of the Commonwealth Students Association, representing 2 billion youth across 54 countries.

She has visited and evaluated hundreds of the world’s top universities, national labs, and hospitals, and advised their presidents on strategies to develop world-class innovation systems.

Between 2012 and 2013, she worked in the UK Parliament developing policy for the Shadow Business Secretary’s team.

For two years she contributed to the BBC as a campus journalist. She has seven years’ experience as a TV presenter for People’s Daily, interviewing heads of state and CEOs of Fortune 500.

She is currently leading projects at the International Telecommunication Union(ITU), the UN agency for ICT, as their Vice Chair on Metaverse Working Group-Sustainability, Accessibility & Inclusion, setting up international standards to address the environment impact and global digital divide of metaverse technologies. She is also Co-chair of UN ITU Task Group on Pre-standardisation for the CitiVerse with the mandate to work with members states to set up the first UN definition and roadmap on how emerging technologies such as AI, digital twins, quantum technologies etc can be used to create citizen-centred smart cities that are inclusive, participatory, and sustainable, leading to international standards.

She is one of six global leaders appointed to the Advisory Council for Centre for Science Futures of the International Science Council, the world’s largest science body of 230 national academies of sciences, with a UN mandate on science. She advises on how AI will impact on the global innovation system. She also sits on TechUK’s Digital Twins Board, Financial Service Council, co-chair their APAC Working Group.

Christina is Nigeria Magazine “Intellectual Leader Of the Year 2023”, “Top 100 Women of the Future 2023”, World Metaverse Council “Metaverse Influencer of the Year 2023”, “Metaverse Content Creator of the Year 2023”, Chairman of the Jury for the MEWS – The Metaverse Entertainment World Awards 2024, under the High Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.

She regularly meets with top leaders, is a frequent keynote speaker at high level events, and is interviewed by top media. She chaired the opening panel for The World Intellectual Property Organization’s summit on IP and Metaverse, addressed UNESCO on the future of education, International Civil Aviation Organization on the future of aviation, UN’s High-Level Political Forum, UN Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum) on future cities.