by Willie Heung, Development Director of Li Po Chun United World College
9th of October, 2018
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he plan for a Belt and Road (B&R) Resources Centre at LPCUWC stems from the UWC mission of peace and conflict prevention. LPCUWC had got the niche to further Belt and Road as we have more than 600 graduates from Belt and Road countries and can leverage their support to help more young people come round to UWC’s mission. There are three prongs in our plan:
- Scholarships for incoming NC-selected students from “Belt and Road” countries and outgoing HK students
- A Resources Centre with short courses for other HK students to educate them about these countries
- Service-learning trips to B&R countries
“Belt and Road” refers to the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the seafaring “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”. The routes have been traditional trade routes connecting many old civilizations and countries across Asia, Europe and Africa, which promoted the growth and development of many countries in yesteryears. With industrialisation and the rise of western nations, these routes have declined in importance and the countries along these routes have seen decades of slow development and conflicts from cultural and religious differences.
The term “Belt and Road” has been widely used within the business and education sectors for many independent programmes and initiatives related to these countries. They have genuine needs for quality human resources (from a UWC education to their young people and the potential networking of 60,000 UWC graduates) and for a sustainable path to economic development.
The term “Belt and Road” was also used by the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping in September and October 2013 and since then to promote the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which has a vision to help the region develop economically, financially and socially through a range of cooperative measures. By using the same term, LPCUWC is neither explicitly nor implicitly supporting the Chinese government initiative. We are committed to UWC’s long-standing policy of political impartiality.
With its Belt and Road Resources Centre LPCUWC is seeking to make a contribution to the sustainable development of the region in the spirit of the UWC mission. The Centre and the related programmes will focus on peacebuilding, economic empowerment, alumni reinvigorating, NC connecting and youth empowerment more generally to promote positive action. The whole idea is a platform to showcase what UWC youngsters are capable of helping the needy and marginalized. Our discussions with a principal think tank of this Centre in the past months also reflected the need to help non-LPC students to get to know these great countries and old civilisations. There is a genuine need for B&R awareness among Hong Kong students, this theme resonates with donors and schools.
The College celebrated its 25th Anniversary last year and has been in full force working on a number of initiatives including the Belt and Road Resources Centre under the overarching strategic theme ‘Breaking Boundaries, Building Bridges’. There are also other initiatives underway including one on “Sustainability” which will be shared with our internal and external community going forward.
The donation from Lee Shau Kee Foundation will be used solely for the establishment of the Resources Centre. The work will involve re-arrangement and re-development of our library and classrooms in the Academic Block. The work will also involve an upgrade of current College facilities involved. We have NOT received any funds or any instructions from any government or the donor to do or not to do certain things in the College or at the Resources Centre. Participating students will continue to freely and openly express their opinions in political, social, cultural and religious issues as our students have always been doing on campus. A task force including the Principal, members of staff and students has been set up for the establishment of the Resources Centre and alignment of the subsequent design and implementation of the programmes at the Centre with UWC mission and vision. The Resources Centre is scheduled to open in autumn in 2019. A more detailed plan on the Resources Centre and its programmes will be communicated to our community.
Find the response from Brian Kern here.