Chief Executive, John Lee, emphasises the transformative power of education at 2023 Yidan Prize Awards Ceremony

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3rd December 2023 – (Hong Kong) Chief Executive Mr John Lee delivered a speech at the 2023 Yidan Prize Awards Ceremony today (December 3). The event celebrated the remarkable achievements of this year’s Yidan Prize laureates and highlighted the potential of education to create a more equitable and inclusive world.

Mr Lee expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience and underscored the significance of education as a catalyst for societal and economic transformation. Drawing inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s words, he stated, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Acknowledging the presence of Dr Charles Chen, the Founder of the Yidan Prize, Mr Lee reiterated that the gathering was a testament to their shared belief in education’s capacity to improve lives. Now in its seventh year, the Yidan Prize has played a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of education worldwide and expanding access to learning through groundbreaking contributions.

Hong Kong, the proud home of the Yidan Prize, has long been committed to education at all levels. The government’s dedication is evident in its allocation of one-fifth of its annual expenditure to education. The region is also home to five of the world’s top 100 universities and provides an international learning environment that fosters excellence for students from around the globe.

During his second Policy Address, Mr Lee announced the government’s commitment to developing Hong Kong as an international hub for post-secondary education. Measures to achieve this include doubling the quota of non-Hong Kong students studying in government-funded post-secondary institutions, offering more scholarships to outstanding students from Belt and Road countries, and expanding the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme. These initiatives aim to attract exceptional talents to pursue studies and research in Hong Kong.

Additionally, the government promotes vocational and professional education as an alternative pathway for students with different interests and goals. Support for students with diverse backgrounds and educational needs has also been increased, while efforts are underway to enhance the teaching capacity of distinguished educators and make education more accessible.

Mr Lee commended this year’s Yidan Prize laureates, Professor Michelene Chi and Mr Shai Reshef, for their innovative work and passionate engagement. Professor Chi, the recipient of the Yidan Prize for Education Research, has made significant contributions to understanding how students learn through her ICAP framework (Interactive, Constructive, Active, and Passive). This framework empowers educators to promote critical and creative thinking and create more effective educational experiences for students.

Mr Reshef, the laureate of the Yidan Prize for Education Development, is the Founder and President of the University of the People. Through his pioneering institution, he has made higher education accessible to individuals irrespective of personal, financial, geographical, or political circumstances. The tuition-free, accredited online university has welcomed over 137,000 students from more than 200 countries, including 16,500 refugees.

Mr Lee extended his congratulations to Professor Michelene Chi and Mr Shai Reshef, expressing hope that their groundbreaking contributions to global education would continue to flourish with the support of the Yidan Prize. He also expressed his gratitude to the Yidan Prize Foundation and all those who have steadfastly supported the mission of the prize.