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Special Hong Kong ceremony celebrates Asia-Pacific ties

Justice Kin Kee Pang, Arts’70 (centre), who is a long-time Queen’s volunteer leader and former judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court in Hong Kong, received an honorary degree at the ceremony in Hong Kong May 20. Chancellor Jim Leech (second from right) and Principal Daniel Woolf (right) presented the honour, along with Queen's Rector Cam Yung and Dean Bill Flanagan (Law). (Photo by Michael Pat)

A special re-convocation ceremony in Hong Kong this past weekend provided the perfect opportunity for Queen’s to reconnect with alumni in the Asia-Pacific region during the university’s 175th anniversary year and to deepen ties with current and potential partners in the area.

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Several Queen’s senior leaders – including Chancellor Jim Leech, Principal Daniel Woolf, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon, and Associate Vice-Principal (International) Kathy O’Brien – joined alumni from the area for the celebrations.

“Queen’s has a strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region, and with these special celebrations, held to mark the university’s 175th anniversary, we wanted to provide those who have attended Queen’s with an opportunity to reconnect with the university,” says Principal Woolf. “The weekend in Hong Kong was also a chance to strengthen Queen’s presence, and re-affirm the university’s commitment to international initiatives in the region.”

At the ceremony on Saturday, Queen’s presented an honorary degree to Justice Kin Kee Pang, Arts’70, who is a long-time Queen’s volunteer leader and former judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court in Hong Kong. At the event, 120 alumni re-affirmed their degrees and connection to Queen’s, each receiving a card with a Queen’s alumni pin and a special 175th celebratory pin. At a gala dinner in the evening, Queen’s Professor Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Art McDonald provided a keynote address, and senior leaders spoke about recent Queen’s highlights and goals for the future.

Principal Woolf addresses the crowd at the re-convocation ceremony in Hong Kong. (Photo by Michael Pat)

“Queen’s is thriving today, but we need to keep our eye on the future. And the future is global,” said Provost Bacon in his address. “How present and impactful is Queen’s internationally? How diverse and inclusive are we? How are we contributing to solving global challenges in climate, social issues, or food and water? Queen’s is asking these questions today so that we remain a premier destination in the future.”

The trip to Asia provided the opportunity for Queen’s to strengthen connections in China as well. The university has bilateral exchange and study-abroad partnerships with 20 Chinese institutions, and Queen’s continues to explore new academic program opportunities and potential research collaborations.

Following events in Hong Kong, the provost, along with Ms. O’Brien, travelled to Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Qingdao. They met with partners at Guangzhou’s South China Normal University (SCNU), which recently signed an agreement with Queen’s Faculty of Education to collaborate on a dual degree master’s program.

In Shanghai, they met with longstanding partners, Fudan University and Tongji University, renewing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tongji. The provost also hosted an alumni event in Shanghai. In Qingdao tomorrow, Provost Bacon and Ms. O’Brien will sign a three-way MOU with Qingdao University and the Qingdao Municipal Government to explore areas of mutual interest in mental health research and mental health services in China.

Internationalization is one of the four pillars of the Queen’s University Strategic Framework 2014–2019. The Comprehensive International Plan was launched in August 2015 to help the university build on its international strengths and direct future internationalization efforts. The plan’s goals include strengthening Queen’s international research engagement and creating more opportunities for student mobility through academic exchange and study-abroad programs. The plan also aims to attract high-quality international students to Queen’s and to increase international educational opportunities on Queen’s campus. Learn more on the International website.