Emerging Palestine: Hybrid Future City Summit Annual Meet 2020 Concluded with Stronger Professional Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Mapping in the Communities of Palestine

Hamdi Hato
4 min readJan 15, 2021



Stephen Phillips, Director-General of InvestHK, sharing as Keynote Speaker on the importance of shaping collaborative hubs in Asia with Hong Kong and other strategic countries.

On 16–17 December 2020, the 5th Annual Meet of Future City Summit was successfully held globally, with Cyberport in Hong Kong used as the studio. The event was jointly sponsored by InvestHK (Government Department of Foreign Direct Investment) and Cyberport Hong Kong. The summit recorded over 390 nominated delegates from 49 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America with over 34,000 organic audience reach while streaming. Since 2016, Future City Summit has been highly engaged by the Palestinian innovation and young professional communities. This year, the Summit partnered and earned support from the United Nations Development Program in Palestine.

The Future City Summit Annual Meet 2020 was hosted by the Good City Foundation, a multilateral non-profit development organization based in Hong Kong and Southeast Asian cities, founded in 2016. The 5th Annual Meet was themed “Global Post-Pandemic Recovery” with a series of thought-leadership dialogues with influential figures such as Stephen Phillips of InvestHK, Petrider Paul(Tanzania) of African Union Youth Advisory Council, Ismail Abu Arafeh, Head of Solutions Mapping from the UNDP in Palestine, and Retnam Shanmuga of ASEAN Smart Cities Network, along with multiple side sessions.

As an overall achievement, a global-scale moonshot ecosystem composed of 22 countries with members in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa pledged at the closing ceremony to collaborate with members of Emerging Future Cities Network formed in 2018 and international high-level communities such as ASEAN Smart Cities Network and G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance. A 10-year agenda objective was then set forth to impact 100 emerging cities of 500,000 population each through digital urban innovation, advanced public policy, and governance entrepreneurship.

5th Anniversary of Future City Summit Networking Session in Hong Kong in 2020

With the primary interest of collective development of startup and innovative technology pipeline by the foreign direct investment promotion department of Hong Kong government, InvestHK, and other professional communities in Palestine, the Good City Foundation continued to establish and build a stronger startup and innovations network in Palestine to source and incubate potential startups and stage entrepreneurs and founders to the international communities through Hong Kong. Professional knowledge exchange in the domains of civil engineering and sciences would be co-developed with local top-notch universities and institutions for empowering further the youth in Palestine for global upward mobility for the coming decade.

Different innovation funding and financing opportunities would be established in the coming year with different venture capitals in Hong Kong and Mainland China in the regional interest in the Middle East through Palestine.

Palestinian Delegation in Future City Summit Annual Meet 2018 in Hong Kong
Palestinian delegates with the organizing committees from the Philippines and Bangladesh in Future City Summit Annual Meet 2018.

“Future City Summit has provided a wide international network and global opportunities for the youth like us in the Palestine communities, such as the engineers, educationalists, entrepreneurs and NGOs. The 5th Anniversary would further mark the deeper partnership and professional knowledge exchange for better global mobility and work opportunities.” — Hamdi Hato, City Partner(Ramallah) of Future City Summit.

Hamdi Hato(right), alumni of Future City Summit Annual Meet 2018, currently the civil engineering for Palestine Telecommunications in Ramallah.
Zeina Khatib(left) now works in UNDP as Urban Planner Officer in Jerusalem.

The partnership with Palestine communities for continuous top-notch urban technology sourcing in the Middle East and showcase with the leaders in the local innovative communities in Palestine will continue with the upcoming side events of the World Economic Forum special annual meet in May in Singapore, along with the support by Invest Hong Kong and UNDP Palestine, during the Startup Festival in May at the same time.

“Palestine has been in our great hearts together since the Future City Summit Annual Meet in 2018, with the establishment of collaboration with the Higher Council for Youth and Sports for the Emerging Future Cities Network in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. This is a special and unique positioning to form a collaboration between Hong Kong and Palestine as a Middle East future powerhub to develop tech pipelines and engage the local community better.” — Andre Kwok, Founder and Chairman of Good City Foundation.

The partnership established with the Higher Council for Youth and Sports of Palestine and the City Partner of Ramallah, Hamdi Hato(left) and Mervat J. A. Jalanna(right) in Future City Summit Annual Meet 2018 in Guangzhou

The 5th Annual Meet was supported by a wide spectrum of stakeholders including UNDP Palestine Innovation Accelerator Lab, Global Shapers Ramallah Hub, African Union Youth Advisory Council, Global University Incubator, Generation T(Gen T) Asia, Yunus Environment Hub, YY Ventures, Golden Age Foundation, Hong Kong Social Enterprise Summit(SES), Independent Power Producers Forum(IPPF), Venturous Group, Aclan Pakistan, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology(Nepal Innovation Digital Network), Sustainable Finance Initiative, Generation Hong Kong, LAB.PH, Urbunx, PropTech Institute and production house DECT Production.

Possible to make it!



Hamdi Hato

Hamdi Hato is a Civil and Environmental Engineer with expertise in LEED, AutoCAD, Microsoft Excel, fluent in Hebrew, Arabic and English.