Teaching and Learning  

HKU President: People Flourish If Given Opportunities

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) Peter Mathieson delivered the speech "The Power of Education: For Self-Improvement, Internationalization, and Institutional Advancement" at NTU's Shih-Liang Conference Center on March 21. With NTU President Pan-Chyr Yang and Vice President for International Affairs Luisa Shu-Ying Chang serving as moderators for the lecture, President Mathieson presented the students and faculty members in the audience with various viewpoints on education, and shared his experience and thoughts regarding personal development and learning. The speech was the first in the Center for General Education's lecture series “NTU Lectures on the Intellectual and Spiritual Pilgrimage.”

President Mathieson became the 15th president of HKU in 2014. He was awarded a PhD by the University of Cambridge in 1992. From 2003 to 2007, he served as chairperson of the Research Grants Committee of Kidney Research UK and, in 2007, was elected president of the Renal Association, becoming its youngest president ever.

In his speech, President Mathieson spoke on the enormous impact education had had on his life. He pointed out that his days attending college and conducting research in England had not only expanded his personal outlook and allowed him to apply his enthusiasm for medical research, but also brought him into contact with different thoughts and viewpoints. He declared that the mission of education and the obligation of universities are to provide students in all fields with ample opportunities and promote comprehensive knowledge so as to cultivate the leaders of the future.

President Mathieson also illustrated HKU's vision of 3+1 "I"s, which refer to internationalization, innovation, interdisciplinarity, and impact. HKU's internationalization efforts include designing international programs, creating a multicultural campus and learning environment, and building inter-organizational cooperative relationships. In terms of innovation, HKU has introduced massive open online courses and flipped-classroom learning models. Encouraging interdisciplinarity, the university promotes cooperation among its different departments and divisions. Mathieson asserted that, by pursuing these goals, HKU would be more capable of creating global and regional transformations.

At the conclusion of his speech, President Mathieson emphasized to the audience, "If you give people opportunities, they will flourish." He said that, in the midst of the 21st century, the power of education is clear to see, and it exists in the impact we have on the lives of all humanity without knowing it. He concluded by stating his belief that, by pursuing excellence and maintaining perseverance, education can achieve the goals of flourishing thought, talent development, institutional reform, personal growth, internationalization, and organizational expansion.