The Millennium Study Tour, sponsored by the Li Ka-shing Foundation with a donation of HK$10 million and co-organized by the Education Department, has been very well received. Beginning in mid-July, approximately 1,000 outstanding local secondary students, chaperoned by 50 teachers, will travel in 25 small groups to 14 different cities in nine countries, namely mainland China, Japan, Singapore, Britain, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Germany, and the United States.
The itineraries were carefully planned with the help of The Liaison Office of The Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, the Mainland’s Ministry of Education; the Consuls General of the host countries; and concerned cities’ universities, environmental protection groups, and commercial enterprises. In regards to visiting environmental protection projects, arrangements have been made for the students to visit recycling facilities, national parks, wetlands and conservation areas. The students will also visit Husky Oil in Canada, which is renowned for its environmental protection policies; the International Kunming World Agricultural Exhibition; and the Oriental Plaza which boasts the highest greenery ratio amongst properties in Beijing. Talks on nature conservation have also been arranged by the concerned universities and environmental protection groups to deepen the students’ appreciation of environmental protection.
The focus on new technologies is equally important. Places the students will visit include science museums and natural science centres, the satellite launching facility at Xian, and some of the world’s top technology companies such as Sony, Ericsson, Cisco System, and Sun Microsystems.
Other activities will include visits to the University of Cambridge, Stanford University, Peking University, and Tsinghua University; and cultural events such as the British musical “The Lion King” and Berlin’s “Festival of Vision-Hong Kong in Berlin”.
A Li Ka-shing Foundation spokesman said, “Mr. Li Ka-shing is a strong supporter of lifelong education and believes that learning from experience is just as important as learning from books. The Millennium Study Tour will give the students a chance to learn from their travel experiences and get to know peoples of different cultures and backgrounds. Their itineraries will include visits to sights related to environmental protection and new technologies, giving the students a chance to gain a deeper understanding of these two major trends of the 21st century.
“The response to this scheme has been overwhelming since it was announced. The Consuls General, university officials, green groups, and business organizations of the host countries have all offered to arrange activities for the students. Their support has helped us enormously in our preparation preparations and has also encouraged us to come up with more similar activities that will benefit more people.”
Mr. Li has always been a strong supporter of community welfare projects, Mr. Li established the Li Ka-shing Foundation in 1980 to promote the development of education, health care, and other social welfare in Hong Kong, the mainland and overseas. Among the better-known education projects are Shantou University, which was founded in 1981; the Cheung Kong Scholars Programme and the Cheung Kong Achievement Award, established in 1999 to reward outstanding professors; and the building of the new Peking University Library, the largest library in Asia. The Foundation has also supported many education and research projects in Hong Kong, including the construction of the University of Hong Kong Chong Yuet Ming Buildings, the redevelopment of the Caritas Chong Yuet Ming Pre-vocational School, financing the expansion of the Open University of Hong Kong, helping Polytechnic University to achieve its aim of ‘Academic excellence and dedicated partnerships with business’, and donations to a number of tertiary institutions. The Foundation’s major contributions in the area of healthcare include The four Affiliated Hospitals of Shantou University, a joint venture with the Chinese University of Hong Kong to build a Joint International Eye Institute, a donation to the China Disabled Persons Federation which helped to restore vision to 1 million cataract sufferers, and the building of five homes for the elderly and the Li Ka-shing Specialists Clinics in Hong Kong.