Chief Executive CY Leung
Over the past decades, Hong Kong has become an increasingly active player in global affairs, in business and in other sectors. We no longer focus merely on light manufacturing for example, but also in a broad range of other sectors such as mining, agriculture, energy, railways, telecommunications and financial and professional services, also outside of Hong Kong. Our footprint in the world is now much bigger than the 1,100 square kilometres that make up Hong Kong. Our professional firms in architecture and surveying, for instance, have projects all around the world, including countries such as India, Thailand and Malaysia. Commerce and trade aside, we also engage in extensive international activities such as in health, environment, culture and education.
For Hong Kong to compete successfully in the 21st century, we must continue to embrace the outside world. Our young generation must get to know the world, and must feel as comfortable in any overseas setting as they are in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, or the New Territories.
With this in mind, your Government is actively promoting exchanges between our young people and those from other countries. We have the Working Holiday Scheme, various funding schemes for youth exchange and internship outside Hong Kong, as well as the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme.
Every year, we award up to 100 scholarships for our top students to receive education in great universities outside Hong Kong – to learn, to understand and to befriend in this global village.
Last year, 92 outstanding students were awarded this scholarship to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies abroad. I myself met some of them during my visit to London last October. I was impressed. Not only by their talent and vision, but also by their dedication to Hong Kong. I was delighted that these young people had kept in touch with the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in London. I hope they will continue to care about Hong Kong – not only during their study abroad, but also after they graduate, and after they start their careers.
This year, 78 scholars were selected from 681 applicants, and 49 will pursue undergraduate study and 29 postgraduate study at world-renowned institutions of their choosing. Some more students may be added to the list later this year.
The scholars have diverse interests and talents, ranging from law, engineering, architecture, natural and social sciences, liberal arts and literature, to music and fine arts. Some will pursue less traditional disciplines – forensic science, neuropsychology and music therapy.
I applaud their passion and ambition. Hong Kong needs a pool of diverse talents to address our varied needs.
The Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme is part of our effort in encouraging top students to study overseas. This is one side of the coin. The other side is to attract top foreign students, particularly those from less familiar countries, to study in Hong Kong. Currently, the ratio of foreign students in UGC-funded universities is only about 4%, which definitely does not match our international connections. We should certainly encourage more to come, so that our young people can gain wider exposure even if they do not study abroad. This is one reason behind the Government’s proposed Belt & Road Scholarship Scheme – to give our campus a greater international flavour, to broaden their outlook and to tease out their curiosity about the world beyond our 1,100 square kilometres.
Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme Award Presentation Ceremony on August 26.