Welcome to the 35th edition of CUHK in Focus.

This final CUHK in Focus message of 2023 is an important one that allows us to take stock of the progress of CUHK in advancing its strategic goals during the year and to recap our diamond jubilee celebrations.

The past few weeks have been packed with an exciting series of signature events and celebrations. It gave me great pleasure to meet with the Global Alumni Advisory Board earlier this month to gain valuable advice and insights from distinguished alumni from a range of sectors and working in different countries and regions around the world. Our meeting was focused on innovation and entrepreneurship in the mainland, the University’s development strategies in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), CUHK’s flagship co-operative education programme, as well as social responsibility and sustainable development. I am truly grateful for the guidance offered by our alumni and their remarkable commitment to seeing their alma mater do even better.

The Diamond Jubilee University Presidents’ Forum that took place on 9 December 2023 brought together 32 university presidents from mainland China and around the world for a powerful discussion of the implications of the innovation and entrepreneurship agenda on the role of 21st century universities. On the following day, CUHK hosted the 2023 Meeting of the Association of University Presidents of China (AUPC), with a Forum on Building World-class Universities. Key guests included Professor Chen Jie, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Education; Dr. Christine Choi, Secretary for Education in the HKSAR; representatives from the Ministry of Education and presidents of AUPC member universities. We were also honoured that day to partner with Peking University to co-host the Sino-US University Presidents’ Dialogue on campus. This was an important platform to advance people-to-people ties and ensure that our sector follows the momentum generated at the recent meeting between our national leaders held on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in San Francisco. These internationally facing events concluded with a visit to The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) on the following Monday, allowing some of our international guests to continue their discussions and see first-hand the impact of CUHK on advancing the development of the GBA.

Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, delivered a welcome speech at the Diamond Jubilee University Presidents’ Forum.
Dr. Christine Choi, Secretary for Education in the HKSAR, spoke at the 2023 Meeting of the Association of University Presidents of China and the Forum on Building World-class Universities.
The Sino-US University Presidents’ Dialogue co-organised by CUHK and Peking University created a platform for university leaders in China and the US to fortify face-to-face exchanges.

This collection of events is testament to the significant role that CUHK and Hong Kong can play as the connector of China and the rest of the world. In fact, many international and mainland university presidents have commented to me that Hong Kong is the only place in China, and probably the world, where events like these are possible, because of our city’s extensive global connections, as well as the role that has been bestowed upon us by the successful operation of the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.

We were delighted to hold the 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner on 10 December. Bringing together over 2,000 CUHK students, staff, alumni, mainland and international partners, and friends to celebrate the institution’s achievements, culture and academic spirit, the long-awaited Gala Dinner was certainly the largest event on our anniversary calendar. I would like to express my gratitude to the honourable Paul Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR government, for his attendance as our Guest of Honour. I would also like to thank Zheng Yanxiong, Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR for gifting us a commemorative calligraphy, which amply reflects the Central Government’s recognition of CUHK’s role as a cradle of talent and academic excellence and its contributions to national development. I would like to point out that while the Gala Dinner might seem to be the climax of our diamond jubilee year, our celebrations will in fact continue until the end of the current academic year.

The honourable Paul Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary of the HKSAR government, delivered a speech at the CUHK 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner.

Farewell Vice-President (Administration) & University Secretary Eric S.P. Ng

Last week we farewelled Vice-President (Administration) and University Secretary Eric S.P. Ng. I would like to record my thanks to Eric for his 16 years of service to CUHK, first as Director of Registry Services, then as Registrar, and then as University Secretary which then evolved into a joint position as Vice-President (Administration). Eric joined CUHK after a long career in higher education both in the UK and in Hong Kong where among other roles, he notably wrote the detailed text of the University Grants Committee’s landmark 2002 “Sutherland Report” on Higher Education in Hong Kong. My thanks again to Eric for his long and meticulous service at CUHK and I wish him the very best in his future endeavours.  

In memory of Professor Tang Xiao’ou

The entire CUHK community was saddened by the passing of Professor Tang Xiao’ou of the Department of Information Engineering last week. Professor Tang was one of the most influential scientists in the field of artificial intelligence. He successfully transformed his ground-breaking research achievements into a world-leading unicorn enterprise, SenseTime. He also contributed remarkably to the innovation agenda of our country by serving as the Director of the Pujiang Laboratory and the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and helping to establish the CUHK Interdisciplinary Artificial Intelligence Research Institute. In deep sorrow, the University community mourns the passing of a devoted scientist, an esteemed entrepreneur, and a dear friend. May we express our deepest sympathies for Professor Tang’s family.

End-of-year reflection

2023 has been an action-packed year signalling not only the University’s diamond jubilee, but also the end of the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency. With the full resumption of normality in our city and the reopening of borders, we have enjoyed a bumper harvest this year in terms of our continuous involvement in the talent cultivation, innovation and technology and entrepreneurship agendas in Hong Kong. The year has also witnessed CUHK actively and strategically reinvigorating our collaborations with mainland and international partners to promote higher education, as well as to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is the dedication and commitment across the entire CUHK community that has enabled the University to be a place where great minds shine and continue to excel in all that we do. My heartfelt gratitude goes to everyone who has contributed to our shared success in what has been a long, challenging, yet absolutely rewarding year. We have prepared a short video highlighting CUHK’s achievements in 2023:

With Christmas and the New Year drawing near, I hope you will get to spend time with your loved ones over the festive period. I wish you all a holiday season filled with peace and happiness.

Professor Rocky S. Tuan
Vice-Chancellor and President
The Chinese University of Hong Kong