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Speech by CE at HK Polytechnic University 75th Anniversary Celebration Dinner (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the Polytechnic University 75th Anniversary Celebration Dinner held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight (November 13):

Chairman of the Council, President, other members of the Polytechnic University, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to be here tonight to celebrate the success of the Polytechnic University (PolyU) of Hong Kong, and to pay tribute to her for her 75 years of outstanding service to Hong Kong.

     I stand here tonight not only as the Chancellor of the university, but also as one of her graduates in 1974. Today, I'm wearing the same tie that I wore in 1971 when I commenced here. Of course, I'm here to celebrate. I'm here also to say thank you to PolyU for the fine education I received, and to say it also on behalf of generations of young people of Hong Kong.

     In my past public service, I was more widely known for my Executive Council positions, but I actually spent more time - much more time - on education. I was a board member of a Band 3 secondary school for more than 10 years. I was also chairman of the council of two universities for a total of 12 years.

     As for PolyU, between 1971, when I joined as a student, and now, I have kept a rich and memorable association. I served as an external examiner to the buildings and surveying department, an external lecturer, an advisory committee member and a court member. Ten years ago, I was a fundraising auctioneer at the 65th anniversary dinner, when we celebrated 「六十五載  耕耘創新」. Five years ago, I was with you at the 70th anniversary dinner, when we did the 「七十年回顧  歲月留映」. I have indeed personally witnessed the many stages of PolyU's development.

     Beginning as a trade school, then a technical college, next as an institution of professional-oriented education, to full university status in 1994. This institution has demonstrated a keen ability to embrace the changes and the practical needs of students. The PolyU equips them with independent thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed in an ever-changing society.

     Our pursuit of knowledge and innovation drives the progress of our society. This gives learning its very purpose. PolyU excels in this, and let's not forget the university's motto, "To learn and to apply, for the benefit of mankind".

     In Hong Kong, the Government backs up the commitment to education with serious money. One of every four government dollars goes to education. One of every four. And I do not see this as expenditure; I see this as an investment. An investment in people, which is important. An investment in the new generation, which is more important. Above all, education is an investment in the future - that makes it very important. What are the expected dividends of these investments respectively? In the words of my election campaign not long ago, 學有所成  學以致用. It means that the education system must equip our students today to embrace the opportunities of tomorrow.

     Many of these opportunities will come from overseas. I am greatly encouraged by the recent announcement of PolyU's collaboration with the China Academy of Space Technology to contribute to our country’s lunar exploration programme. This is a shining example of how the exchange of know-how, talents and goodwill with our overseas counterparts opens new doors.

     So, happy birthday, Polytechnic University. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours. Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Issued at HKT 22:15


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