President Tong joined students in service-learning in Kyrgyzstan


Credit: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Professor Timothy W. Tong, President of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), joined a Service-Learning trip with 34 students to serve the local community in Kyrgyzstan on 16 July 2017 and then signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan on 19 July.

In response to the HKSAR Government's call for supporting the Nation's Belt and Road Initiative and to prepare our students to tap the opportunities under this initiative, PolyU has embarked on a number of measures to enhance the engagement with the Belt and Road countries. Apart from being the local university which has admitted the largest number of students from those countries, PolyU has also been organizing many exchange activities for students.

The Service-Learning trip to Kyrgzstan is part of the credit-bearing SOAR (Serving heart, Open-mindedness, Aspiration, Responsibility) Youth Leadership Programme (2016-2017), organised jointly by PolyU's Global Youth Leadership Institute and Peking University. The programme requires students to complete designated leadership courses and to learn more about ethnicity and harmony, social responsibility and global perspectives by visiting and engaging in service-learning in countries along the Belt and Road.

In the Service-Learning trip, President Tong joined the students in performing eye checking and vision screening services for some 500 children and teenagers in Tokmok, a city with rich cultural heritage located in the ancient Silk Road.

President Tong said, "Not only did the service-learning trip benefit the local community, it benefits our students by igniting their sense of social responsibility, and enables them to understand the social issues, explore a different culture and widen their international outlook. This, in turn, has helped open up their minds and enhance their competitiveness."

To foster collaboration with universities in the Belt and Road countries, PolyU also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan on 19 July. The strengthened ties will result in more academic exchange, research collaboration, student and staff exchange, and enhanced collaboration within the network of the University Alliance of the Silk Road.

President Tong said, "We are delighted to develop a closer relationship with the Nazarbayev University. I am confident that this collaboration will form a foundation of a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership between the two universities, which also opens doors to more exchange and learning opportunities along the Belt and Road."

A Belt and Road Forum was organized by PolyU in Beijing in conjunction with Ming Xi Foundation on 15 July to promote cultural exchange among the youth from Hong Kong, Chinese Mainland and the Silk Road countries. The event is one of the celebratory activities for PolyU's 80th anniversary. More than 130 participants, including entrepreneurs, government officials and students from the "Silk Road International Summer School", attended the Forum and exchange their views on the challenges of globalization and youth engagement along the Belt and Road countries.


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