At HKUST, we regularly establish new milestones. I am particularly proud of one that occurred recently, with the successful election of the second term of the Standing Committee of the HKUST Convocation.
I am very pleased to see the growing interest in the Convocation, which plays a very important role in the life of the University and which is especially focused on strengthening the relationships between you, the alumni, and your alma mater. My congratulations go to the nine members of the new Standing Committee under the leadership of Sean Lin, the Convocation Chairman.
I have recently returned from the University's first official trip to Israel and Turkey. During the trip, Vice-President Dr Eden Woon and I were able to initiate academic exchanges with several well- known universities in the region. Both HKUST and these Middle East institutions see great potential in future collaboration.
I particularly treasured the opportunity to meet with HKUST alumni and students in both countries, and hear all their news and let them know about our latest developments. Given the fast expansion of our alumni base, as well as the increasing internationalization of the University, we are seeing larger and larger numbers of former students in more and more countries around the world, including those in emerging economies. Here in Hong Kong, I was delighted to chat with a good number of alumni at the wonderful recent Joint Happy Hour co-hosted by the alumni associations of HKUST and University of Southern California (USC). This occasion was of special significance as we are keen to maintain close ties with USC through a broad spectrum of collaborations, and it brought together several graduates who are alumni of both universities. My thanks go to Alvin Lam, President of HKUST Alumni Association, and his executive committee members for organizing this superb event!
On the subject of travels, it was an honor for me to take part in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. This high-profile event brings together political and society leaders, academics, experts and entrepreneurs from around the globe, who discuss in depth the challenges facing the world. Other guests included presidents from Harvard, Yale, MIT, Oxford and Cambridge, as well as University of Tokyo and National University of Singapore from Asia.
While at Davos, I signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of HKUST with Oxford Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton regarding international collaboration between our two institutions. Under this MoU, we have agreed to jointly establish the Oxford-HKUST Leadership and Public Policy Series, with the aim of providing executive education short courses to public sector officials from Hong Kong, Mainland China, and, eventually, other parts of Asia.
Our cover story for this issue focuses on alumna Jeanie Leung. She has become a successful artist producing wonderful picture books; this seems to be a very"creative" activity in contrast to her business studies at HKUST, yet she cherishes her time at her alma mater, especially for the opportunities it gave her, including her exchange-out experience in the US.
For some students, taking part in an overseas exchange may seem an impossible dream because of their family situation. And that is why I want to thank all alumni who contributed to the Alumni Endowment Fund during its first year – you are our pioneer donors and you are helping students to make the most of their time at HKUST, by enabling them to grab all the opportunities that come their way. The launch has been successful, but we must now redouble our efforts and build on this momentum. All donations are very gratefully received, no matter how big or small. Many people think they have to wait until they are well established and successful in their careers before donating to their alma mater. Many of you are still in the early years of your careers, but it is never too early to start.
Professor Tony F Chan