26 February 2013

Grand Opening of CUHK Yasumoto International Academic Park
A New Landmark for International Cultural Exchange



The Yasumoto International Academic Park, a new significant landmark of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), celebrated its grand opening today (26 February). Officiating guests included Dr. and Mrs. Alex K. Yasumoto; Dr. Vincent H.C. Cheng, Chairman of the Council, CUHK; and Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President, CUHK. Dr. Yasumoto, a Japanese entrepreneur and philanthropist, made a magnificent donation of HK$100 million to CUHK in 2005 to establish the Yasumoto International Exchange Scholarship Scheme in support of international academic exchange activities of the University. The University decided to establish the Yasumoto International Academic Park, as a token of appreciation to Dr. Yasumoto, to meet the needs for educational facility as the University reverted to a 4-year normative curriculum and to enhance cultural exchanges among students. The grand opening ceremony is one of the year-round celebratory events of the CUHK 50th anniversary. 

CUHK believes in 'education without borders', and was the first university in Hong Kong to launch student exchange programmes with overseas universities and the first one was launched in 1965 with the University of California. Since then, CUHK has established links with over 230 leading higher educational institutions in 29 countries and regions. Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung said, 'We are thrilled that Dr. Yasumoto shares our aspirations to cultivate in our students global perspectives, and to promote exchange and collaboration among young people of the world. This year alone, we sent over 800 undergraduate students for one-year or one-semester outgoing exchange. More than half of the outbound CUHK undergraduates are Yasumoto scholars who have benefitted from his exchange scholarship scheme. Let me extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. Yasumoto on behalf of all Yasumoto scholars. As a permanent testimony to the magnanimous contribution of Dr. Yasumoto, the University has named this building complex the Yasumoto International Academic Park where international and local students congregate, bond and share their dreams, aspirations and world vision.'

The Yasumoto International Exchange Scholarship Scheme is the largest exchange scholarship scheme ever in the University. The scheme has enabled over 2,500 CUHK students to embark on eye-opening journeys in all five continents. Dr. Yasumoto said, 'I greatly appreciate the vision and the efforts made by the Chinese University over the past 50 years in broadening the international horizon of its students through international exchange programmes. "Give to the community what the community has given to you" is my father's favourite maxim. I hope this Yasumoto International Exchange Scholarship Scheme will continue to enable generations of CUHK students to embark on life-changing journeys in the years to come. It is my greatest pleasure to officiate at the Grand Opening of the Yasumoto International Academic Park which embraces the concept of cross-cultural understanding with harmony. The completion of the building complex shows concerted efforts of many parties. Let me extend my congratulations and gratitude to CUHK.'

In the opening ceremony, Yasumoto scholars and students benefited from Dr. Yasumoto's donation expressed their gratitude to him through Japanese poem and sign song singing performances. 

A significant landmark of cultural exchange  

The Yasumoto International Academic Park incorporates the concept of cross-cultural understanding with harmony, the grand vision for the world when Dr. Yasumoto made the generous donation to CUHK. The 14-storey high Academic Park comprises an environmentally friendly academic building and a Cultural Plaza, housing lecture theatres, classrooms, a bookstore, a cafe and offices. The Cultural Plaza provides ample space for cultural exchanges, performances and exhibitions and also serves as a cradle for students of all races to bond and share their aspirations. The Office of Academic Links is also located there to provide assistance to students' exchange activities. The new university bookstore provides a wide variety of academic and leisure books, textbooks and stationery. There is also a cafe run by a social enterprise which promotes healthy eating. 

CUHK is committed to the promotion of environmental protection and has been actively engaged in the research of relevant new technology. The Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability established in 2011 is located in the Academic Park to inspire Hong Kong, mainland China and the world on how to build a sustainable future through research, education and knowledge transfer. In addition, the Academic Park also houses the CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia Office and the Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change. The 800 sq m Museum boasts its multimedia and interactive facilities, and equipment showing satellite images. 

A central sculptural pedestrian circulation route comprising stairs and escalators is provided in the Park to link the Cultural Square and different parts of the campus. The design assures pedestrian friendliness and makes walking an easy and attractive option for commuting students and staff.

Life-transforming exchange experience

Many students regard their exchange experience the fondest memory of their life. Not only will they acquire new skills, knowledge and experience while on exchange, they will also discover themselves and acquire a renewed sense of intellectual energy and focus. Among the Yasumoto scholars are some 150 students majoring in Japanese Studies who has spent an academic year studying in different universities across Japan, including those in Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. They learn about Japanese society, culture and language. Dr. Yasumoto's donation has also enabled nearly 600 non-major students to join summer exchange programmes, launching students on a lifetime relationship with the people in Japan. 

Research on signed language and spoken language acquisition by deaf children 

With the generous support from Dr. Yasumoto, The Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies at CUHK has developed 'The Child Hong Kong Sign Language Corpus' and 'Child Hong Kong Sign Language - Cantonese Bilingual Corpus', through which several deaf and hearing researchers have been trained to conduct research on signed language and spoken language acquisition by deaf children. Since its inception in 2003, the Centre has been successful in raising public awareness towards the importance of sign language and its potential benefits in deaf education in Hong Kong.

For more photos, please visit:
http://www.cpr.cuhk.edu.hk/en/events_recap_detail.php?1=1&id=102&s=

(From left) Dr. and Mrs. Alex Yasumoto, Dr. Vincent Cheng, Council Chairman of CUHK, and Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK officiate at the Grand Opening of the Yasumoto International Academic Park.
(From left) Dr. and Mrs. Alex Yasumoto, Dr. Vincent Cheng, Council Chairman of CUHK, and Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK officiate at the Grand Opening of the Yasumoto International Academic Park.

The plaque unveiling ceremony.
The plaque unveiling ceremony.

Dr. Vincent Cheng presents a souvenir to Dr. & Mrs. Alex Yasumoto.
Dr. Vincent Cheng presents a souvenir to Dr. & Mrs. Alex Yasumoto.

Prof. Joseph Sung presents a CUHK 50th anniversary souvenir to Dr. & Mrs. Alex Yasumoto.
Prof. Joseph Sung presents a CUHK 50th anniversary souvenir to Dr. & Mrs. Alex Yasumoto.

The representatives of Yasumoto scholars present souvenirs to Dr. & Mrs. Alex Yasumoto.
The representatives of Yasumoto scholars present souvenirs to Dr. & Mrs. Alex Yasumoto.



Yasumoto scholars and students benefited from Dr. Yasumoto’s donation express their gratitude to him through Japanese poem and sign song singing performances.
Yasumoto scholars and students benefited from Dr. Yasumoto’s donation express their gratitude to him through Japanese poem and sign song singing performances.

A group photo of the officiating guests, CUHK members and Yasumoto scholars.
A group photo of the officiating guests, CUHK members and Yasumoto scholars.

Yasumoto International Academic Park
Yasumoto International Academic Park