Profiles of Directors
Lai Sheung Wong 黃文麗裳
Director – Chairperson
Lai Sheung Man Wong came to the UK from Hong Kong when she was twelve years old. Her first job was doing secretarial work with Conoco Oil Company. She then ran her family restaurant in Chelsea, London, and later successfully opened two other restaurants with her husband in Berkshire and Hertfordshire. She attended Westminster University as a mature student studying Mandarin and English whilst running her restaurant business. Her interest in developing her Mandarin and enriching her knowledge of Chinese culture brought her into contact with The Meridian Society.
Director – Finance
Annabel is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Internal Auditors having completed the professional qualification in 1994. She has a wide range of experience from working in executive roles for the national and international public sector. Her career spans operational management, internal auditing and human resources. She wishes to bring the skills and capabilities developed in these areas for the benefit of the Society.
Wenlan Peng 彭文兰
Director – Special Projects
Bridging cultures to foster East-West understanding has been the driving force behind Wenlan’s professional career and personal interests. She was the first British national to host an English-language series on China Central Television when the PRC was opening up and, since her return to the UK, she has been focussing on documentary films about China. Together with a group of like-minded friends, Wenlan founded The Meridian Society in the belief that the ‘meridian’ in the name should not be a dividing line between East and West, but an interface for the sharing of ideas and experiences from around the world.
Sam Hardy 韓雪宸
Currently reading BA Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Sam is a keen supporter of efforts to build Sino-British relations. Having lived in China’s Jiangsu province from 2019-2021, he returned to the UK with a passion for acquiring a greater understanding of Chinese culture. This passion has manifested itself in his founding of the SOAS Chinese Culture Society and time spent working at the Ming-Ai (London) Institute. An avid musician, he is also Secretary of SOAS’s Silk and Bamboo Ensemble, and founder of the SOAS Lion Dancing Ensemble. Based on these experiences, Sam hopes to contribute to the Meridian Society’s goal of finding common ground and understanding between East and West.
Haley Wang 王悠人
Haley was born and raised in Hangzhou, China, a city famous for its historic heritage and green tea. Initially trained as a psychologist, she is now completing a master’s degree in the field of Early Years Education at UCL. In her spare time, she volunteers at an English-Mandarin dual language school in London, where she assists in teaching early years and primary subjects in Mandarin to children from around the world. Other than her passion for education, she adores music, and is an active member in the SOAS Silk and Bamboo Ensemble and SOAS Chinese percussion society. She plays xiaoruan 小阮（a kind of Chinese lute), traditional Chinese drums and other Chinese percussion instruments.
Benny Shen 沈琪昊
Benny Shen is a PhD student in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on environmental history and marginal landscape management, such as beekeeping in East Africa. Benny convenes the CRASSH Indigenous Studies Discussion Group at Cambridge University. He himself is a native of Shanghai and speaks fluent Mandarin, Shanghainese, and a couple of other Wu dialects spoken in certain areas of East China. Benny writes classical Chinese poems in his spare time. He has great enthusiasm for traditional Chinese culture and music, with a special interest in traditional theatrical art forms, such as Peking opera (京劇), kunqu (崑曲), and pingtan (评弹). He is a committee member of the SOAS Silk and Bamboo Ensemble.