Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony for Yasumoto International Academic Park and Appreciation Ceremony of Yasumoto International Exchange Scholarship Scheme
The Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony for the Yasumoto International Academic Park and Appreciation Ceremony of the Yasumoto International Exchange Scholarship Scheme was held today (9 November) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Dr. and Mrs. Alex K. Yasumoto, and CUHK Vice-Chancellor Prof. Lawrence J. Lau officiated at the ceremony. In 2005, Dr. Yasumoto made a magnificent donation of HK$100 million to CUHK to establish the Yasumoto International Exchange Scholarship Scheme in support of international academic exchange activities of the University. The University and all Yasumoto Scholars supported by the Scheme are grateful to the generous support of Dr. and Mrs. Alex K. Yasumoto. As a token of appreciation, the University has decided to establish the Yasumoto International Academic Park which incorporates the concept of cross-cultural understanding with harmony, the grand vision for the world when Dr. Yasumoto made the most generous donation to CUHK.
Dr. Yasumoto, founder of a very successful enterprise with major business operations in Hong Kong, holds dear his father’s favourite maxim: ‘Give to the community much of what the community has given to you’. He also shares the aspirations of CUHK to cultivate the global perspectives of its students, and promote exchange and collaboration among the young people of the world. He said, ‘The Chinese University of Hong Kong and I share the same vision and we both firmly believe in the importance of international exchange to the development of young people of the world. I appreciate very much indeed every effort that the Chinese University has made to foster internationalization. The establishment of the Yasumoto International Academic Park has further demonstrated the determination of the Chinese University in performing this role.’
Prof. Lawrence J. Lau expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Yasumoto for his unfailing support to the University, ‘That is why we gather here today to pay tribute to Dr. Alex Yasumoto, who has made international exchange and collaboration possible for many members of our University. He donated HK$100 million to our University back in 2005 for enhancing academic development as well as international and cultural exchange. With his donation we have established the largest exchange scholarship scheme ever in the University, and the Scheme has provided over 1,300 exchange scholarships to date. To give permanent recognition to his munificence, the University has decided to name this new building complex on our campus the Yasumoto International Academic Park.’
CUHK firmly believes in the importance of international exchange among young people of the world. As leaders of tomorrow, they are expected to be internationally knowledgeable and inter-culturally competent. Over the years, CUHK has provided plentiful opportunities for its students to go on exchange, broadening their perspectives, enhancing their understanding of other cultures, and preparing them for life and work in a globalised world.
To be completed by 2012, the heart and soul of the Academic Park comprises an iconic state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly academic building and a Cultural Plaza with lecture theatres, conference and exhibition areas, a café and offices, which will become an important landmark of CUHK. The Office of Academic Links, a main unit of the University promoting international exchanges, will anchor at the Academic Park, orchestrating each year over 2,000 students on incoming and outgoing exchanges in close to 30 countries. Collectively the facilities will help providing a vivid atmosphere to educate and broaden the global perspectives of our students.
Architecturally the Academic Park integrates teaching buildings of the vicinity via the use of a Grand Stairway, allowing the staff and students interchange freely to and from different parts of the campus as well as providing a platform for cultural and intellectual exchanges. The iconic building situated on the park stand prominently on the Cultural Plaza but yet its exterior and the landscaped roof blends harmoniously with the surrounding environment where there are vegetation, tree canopies and a beautiful pond nearby.
The Cultural Plaza will provide ample space and opportunities for cultural exchanges, performances and exhibitions and also serves as a cradle for students of all colours and races to bond and share their dreams and aspiration.
The Scholarship Scheme has enabled many students to embark on a life-changing journey. In the last four years, over 1,300 CUHK students have been supported by the Scheme to undertake a period of exchange for either one semester or a full academic year, constituting more than half of all students going on exchange in a total of 28 countries and regions in all five continents. The followings are a few words from selected Yasumoto Scholars:
‘Despite frustration and loneliness at the beginning, I have learnt to be independent and confident when facing challenges. The exposure to this big world has helped me to understand my strengths and weaknesses.’
- Hilda Fong, Journalism student exchanged to USA
‘My language skills have improved a lot. I can now communicate with others in German without any problem. I can even understand Swiss German which is a totally different language from German. It is amazing to learn two languages in just one year.’
- Leah Cheung, Anthropology student exchanged to Switzerland
‘I joined an archaeology course and had a chance to visit different Swedish historical sites: cathedrals, parishes, town walls and castles. This was especially eye-opening to me as I have mainly been learning from books and documents.’
- Henry Lam, History student exchanged to Sweden