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Caroline Watson

Caroline Watson

Caroline Watson is the founder and director of Hua Dan, one of China’s first and leading social enterprises.  Hua Dan uses the power of participation in drama-based workshops to reveal and develop individual and community potential.  Hua Dan has a particular focus on working with China’s rural-to-urban migrant workers, particularly women, who work in the manufacturing and service industries, at the heart of China’s economic boom.
In founding Hua Dan, Caroline has pioneered the importance of participation in the arts and creative education in a country that has no precedent for anything other than a hierarchical, rote-learning education model; empowered female migrants from the countryside to lead and manage the organisation through a vocational training model; and refined a sustainable hybrid non-profit/for-profit business model for arts-based learning methodologies.

Born and brought up in Hong Kong, of British parents, Caroline has lived in Asia for over 20 years.  As a child, she grew up around her family’s business, Anthony Buckley and Constantine, a Royal warrant holder portrait photography studio whose clients included Hong Kong and Asian business, political and cultural elite.   This exposure, combined with her professional experience of running a social enterprise in China, has given her the knowledge and perspective of contemporary China at all levels.

Caroline has a BA in Theatre Studies from Lancaster University and is an alumni of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government programme, ‘Global Leadership and Public Policy in the 21st Century’.

In 2007 she became a an alumni of INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship Executive education programme and was also elected a Waldzell ‘Architect of the Future’.

In 2010 she became a FYSE Fellow (Foundation for Youth Social Entrepreneurship).

In 2011 she became a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

Caroline is Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Arts in Society and is an advisory board member of Compassion for Migrant Children.  She is also a Social Entrepreneur in Residence for INSEAD.

She has lived and worked in China, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Spain, the UK, India, Argentina and France.  She speaks English, Mandarin, French and Spanish.

Caroline has recently formed two complementary organisations:

  1. Scheherazade Consulting, which provides training services on global leadership issues, with a particular focus on China, India and the emerging world, to companies and institutions around the world; and
  2. 2. Scheherazade Initiatives, which replicates the Hua Dan model in other emerging markets.

Caroline is a frequent speaker, consultant, and guest practitioner.  Her areas of professional interest are global leadership, facilitating personal and social change, innovation, theatre and the arts, corporate social responsibility, women’s issues, the emerging world and China.


(update 2013-01-29)