PolyU: PolyU 85th Anniversary Public Lecture by Prof. Poon Chung-kwong on Knowledge and Self-Cultivation

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To mark the 85th anniversary of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), the University presented a public lecture today at the Jockey Club Auditorium. Prof. POON Chung-kwong, President Emeritus of PolyU was invited to speak on “Knowledge and Self-cultivation”, and to share his insights on how young people can pursue knowledge and build effective self-cultivation practices. Mr Eric CHAN Kwok-ki, Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region delivered the opening speech at the public lecture. The lecture was attended by more than 700 guests, students and alumni.

During the 18 years of his leadership, Prof. Poon successfully steered the then Hong Kong Polytechnic to become The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1994, laying a solid foundation for the development of teaching and research as well as achieving international recognition for PolyU.

Mr Chan Kwok-ki

Chief Secretary for Administration

Prof. Poon said that while university education focuses on the promotion of student knowledge and professional caliber, the cultivation of morals and values are equally crucial to whole-person education. Based on his extensive experience, Prof. Poon discussed the methods and practices of exploring knowledge, and examined the three dimensions in realising self-cultivation, namely moral persistence, attitude towards others and problem handling skills.

In a following session moderated by Prof. CHU Hung-lam, Chair Professor of the Department of Chinese Culture, PolyU, Prof. Poon discussed with PolyU alumni and students how young people can pursue both knowledge and self-cultivation amid the various changes in society, so that they may better contribute to their families, society and the Nation.

Prof. Poon Chung-kwong said, “Whether a person’s knowledge will do good or harm to society is determined by their moral cultivation. A person with knowledge but no self-cultivation is likely to harm the world and themselves, while a person with cultivation but no knowledge will find it difficult to cope with rapid societal change, and is thus incapable of helping others. The ultimate goal of education is to nurture both students’ knowledge and self-cultivation, which is the basis for promoting harmonious social development.”

Over the years, Prof. Poon has made remarkable achievements in scientific research and education. As an outstanding scientist, he was twice invited to present proposals for the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in 1985 and 1991. As a passionate educationist, he devoted 40 years of his life to university education, including 18 years as the Director of the Hong Kong Polytechnic and the President of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In his opening speech, Chief Secretary for Administration Mr Chan Kwok-ki said, “Over the years, PolyU has nurtured talents with both knowledge and self-cultivation in different fields and professions for the benefit of Hong Kong, the Nation and the world. During the 18 years of his leadership, Prof. Poon successfully steered the then Hong Kong Polytechnic to become The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1994, laying a solid foundation for the development of teaching and research as well as achieving international recognition for PolyU.”

Prof. Jin-Guang TENG, President of PolyU, said, “Prof. Poon has devoted his life to the cause of education and has always prioritised the whole-person development of students. He is a firm advocate of the integration of knowledge and morals in education to serve society. With years of experience, reflection and practice, Prof. Poon has unique and profound insights into how young people can grasp ‘knowledge’ and ‘self-cultivation’. The valuable insights shared by Prof. Poon today will definitely benefit PolyU students, staff, alumni and other audiences.”

PolyU’s 85th Anniversary celebrations commenced in November last year, and a series of upcoming events include a public lecture by Dr Louis Ng, Director of the Hong Kong Palace Museum; Chinese Painting Appreciation — Collector and Philanthropist Perspectives by Mr Ho Sai-chu, who is a University Fellow and alumnus; and Artist-in-Residence Programme: a drama production by PolyU Theatre “Our Town”.

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