Chapman University’s Vice President for Research, Thomas Piechota hosts Ask the Experts Virtual Town Hall: The World After COVID on Wednesday, September 1st  from 9:00 – 10:00 AM PST. The event will feature Richard Florida, the world’s premier urban expert, who will discuss the global future with leading experts from US, Europe, Africa and Asia. Florida, author of The Creative Class and the New Urban Crisis, will be followed by Joel Kotkin, Presidential Fellow in urban futures at Chapman;  Behki Mahlobo, analyst and economic researcher at the Center of Risk Analysis in Johannesburg; Li Sun, expert of Chinese cities and professor at University of Leeds; and Laure Mandeville-Tostain, senior reporter for Le Figaro in Paris.

The discussion will be moderated by Marshall Toplansky of Chapman University.

The entire Chapman community (staff, faculty, and students) and the broader community are invited to join. Click here to register for the Zoom webinar. Visit  for more information on the Ask the Experts series.

Expert Biographies

Joel Kotkin is a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University and Director of the Center for Demographics and Policy. Described by the New York Times as “America’s uber-geographer,” Joel Kotkin is an internationally recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends.

Marshall Toplansky is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Science at Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics, and Research Fellow at the University’s C. Larry Hoag Center for Real Estate.

Richard Florida is one of the world’s leading urbanists. He is a researcher and professor, serving as University Professor at University of Toronto’s School of Cities and Rotman School of Management, and a Faculty Chair at NYU’s Schack School of Real Estate. He is a writer and journalist, having penned several global best sellers, including the award winning The Rise of the Creative Class and his most recent book, The New Urban Crisis. He is co-founder of CityLab, the leading publication devoted to cities and urbanism.  He is an entrepreneur, as founder of the Creative Class Group which works closely with companies and governments worldwide. Mental Health focusing on substance abuse and HIV. In 2012, Dr. Chau was recognized with leadership awards from the National Council for Behavioral Health and the American Psychiatric Association.

Laure Mandeville is a Senior reporter at the French newspaper le Figaro, where she covers American and European Affairs as well as intellectual debates around the world. She joined the foreign desk of Le Figaro in 1989 to cover the end of communism and spent twenty years covering the post- Soviet world. She was Russia bureau chief in Moscow from 1997 to 2000 and then US bureau chief in Washington from December 2008 to August 2016. She also covered Islam in Europe from 2000 to 2008. She is the cofounder of the Tocqueville Conversations, an annual Conference on the Future of our democracies and a member of the Board of the Tocqueville Foundation. Laure Mandeville holds a BA in Slavic languages from the University of Toulouse and graduated from L’Institut d’Etudes politiques de Paris, in International affairs. She also holds a Post graduate degree in Political Science from Science Po and was visiting scholar at Harvard University, as a Fulbright and Arthur Sachs fellow. She is the author of “Who is really Donald Trump” (2016, Les Equateurs/Le Figaro), “The Russian Reconquest” (Grasset, 2008) and “The Russian Army: A Power in Tatters” (1994, Ed n°01). She contributes to Politique Internationale and The American Purpose. She is a regular guest on the TV Shows C’est dans l’air, LCI and France 24

Dr Li Sun is a lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. Prior to the UK, she worked in universities in Germany, the Netherlands, the US, and China. Besides academic positions, Dr Sun also serves as a consultant to the UN, World Bank, and OECD, as well as various government offices in the UK, the Netherlands, and China. Her main research interest is urbanization and governance in China including rural-urban migration, social policies, land and housing issue. Her publications appear in leading journals of relevant fields such as Cities, Social Policy & Administration, Land Use Policy. Her book entitled Rural Urban Migration and Policy Intervention in China was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019.

Bheki Mahlobo is an analyst and economic researcher at the center for risk Analysis (CRA), Johannesburg. He is primarily involved in writing chapters for the Socio-Economic Survey of South Africa, an annual publication that provides information and data on major trends in various social and economic fields. The Centre For Risk Analysis (CRA) is one of the top think tanks in South Africa that provides analysis and advise on scenario planning and macro-economic strategic advice on South African risks and as well as global trends for corporate and individual clients.

For more information about this Town Hall, contact:

The Office of Research: Thomas Piechota, Vice President for Research, or (714) 628-2897.

Media Contact: Pamela Ezell, Assistant Vice President, Communications Strategic Marketing and Communications, or (714) 289-3129.