The inaugural Hong Kong Laureate Forum (the Forum) organised by the Council of the Hong Kong Laureate Forum (the HKLF) and fully sponsored by the Lee Shau Kee Foundation — a world-class science event that brings together top scientific minds from around the world for cross-generational, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary exchanges — officially commenced today at the Hong Kong Science Park. The Forum lasts six days, from 13 to 18 November 2023. With its theme “Meeting of Inspirational Minds”, the Forum gathered over 20 Shaw Laureates from around the world in the disciplines of Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine, and Mathematical Sciences, distinguished scientists as well as around 200 young scientists from almost 30 different countries and regions for exchanging views, insights and aspirations in science.
The week-long Forum features a wide range of engaging programmes, including keynote speeches by Shaw Laureates, thought-provoking plenary sessions, breakout sessions with Shaw Laureates and world-renowned scientists, global trending topic sessions, and poster presentations by young scientists, etc. The areas of discussion and sharing will mainly cover the three Shaw Prize disciplines, with diverse topics from black holes, cellular mechanism, to discrete geometry. Shaw Laureates and distinguished scientists will share their profound insights in their respective research areas with young scientists through their speeches and panel discussions. The young scientists can also showcase their latest research ideas in poster presentation to spark intellectual exchanges.
The opening ceremony held today was officiated by the Hon John Lee, GBM, SBS, PDSM, PMSM, Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government, and Prof Timothy W Tong, BBS, JP, Chairman of the HKLF, together with Principal Sponsor Dr Martin Lee Ka-Shing, GBS, JP, Chairman of Henderson Land Group and Director of the Lee Shau Kee Foundation; and Major Partner Dr Raymond Chan, Chair of the Shaw Prize Foundation and Board Member of the HKLF.
In delivering his welcome remarks, Prof Timothy W Tong, BBS, JP, the Chairman of the HKLF, said: “Apart from an exciting lineup of speakers, who will share their research and insights on a wide range of topics, the Forum will also provide an excellent opportunity for all to exchange knowledge, network, and to collaborate with each other.” He added that participants could also enjoy Hong Kong’s culinary delights and immerse themselves in the local culture. He was pleased to embark on the journey with all participants and he was confident that this week would inspire new possibilities. He expressed his sincere gratitude to the generous donation from the Lee Shau Kee Foundation, which has fully funded the work of the HKLF since its inception, including this Forum. He also took the opportunity to thank the Shaw Prize Foundation for its partnership and the HKSAR Government for its unwavering backing of the HKLF’s work.
The Hon John Lee, GBM, SBS, PDSM, PMSM, Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government, extended his warm welcome to all the distinguished guests and bright minds from around the world. He expressed full support of the HKSAR Government on scientific and innovative endeavours and said: “Hong Kong will continue to be a world-class collaboration hub for inspirational minds. We warmly welcome more prominent events and conferences such as the Laureate Forum to take place in Hong Kong.”
Dr Martin Lee Ka-shing, GBS, JP, Chairman of Henderson Land Group and Director of the Lee Shau Kee Foundation, shared in his speech: “The Lee Shau Kee Foundation is profoundly honoured to sponsor this long-awaited exchange aimed at advancing world-class innovation and scientific breakthroughs. The Foundation and Henderson Land share the values and ambitions of this Forum. We are committed to empowering our talented young people to realise their potential and contribute to the sustainable growth and development of our city, our nation, and our world. We believe innovation is the key to solving life’s many riddles and mysteries, especially in the fields of science, medicine, and technology.” Dr Martin Lee also extended his deep appreciation to Prof Timothy Tong, HKLF Chairman, and his team for their dedication and tireless efforts to make the Forum possible, and for hosting a wide range of activities to educate and stimulate young minds through the pandemic to keep the flames of knowledge alive.
Dr Raymond Chan, Chair of the Shaw Prize Foundation and Board Member of the HKLF, said: “The Shaw Prize is proud to be a partner of the Council of the Hong Kong Laureate Forum. The Forum will no doubt ignite imagination and spark lively intellectual discussion in the coming week.” He quoted Albert Einstein’s famous saying, “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” to give encouragement to the participating young scientists to make use of the invaluable opportunity to talk to the masters of their field.
Apart from the discussions and sharing sessions, during this momentous week, the Forum participants will be exposed to ongoing science and innovation projects in Hong Kong, by visiting local universities, InnoHK centres, HKSTP Experience Centre, Hong Kong Research and Development Centres, and Cyberport. They will visit the Hong Kong Science Museum and Hong Kong Space Museum as well and attend science seminars to be organised by the HKLF in collaborations with both museums. These two seminars will also be open to the public and local secondary students.
In addition to various visits, an unprecedented dialogue between Shaw Laureates with participating secondary school students is another highlight of the official programmes. A tour to the West Kowloon Cultural District and a special reception featuring local delicacies will be held to allow the Forum participants to experience Hong Kong’s unique culture. Throughout the Forum, live streaming and programme archives will be made available for specific sessions to reach out to a wider audience in Hong Kong and beyond.
The Forum is an international academic exchange platform to connect the current and future generations in scientific pursuits. It provides opportunities for young scientists and foster exchanges with experts in various disciplines, enabling them to gain inspiration and benefit from the transmission of knowledge and experiences. The HKLF believes that this prestigious platform will not only help to establish Hong Kong as a vital hub for local and international academic exchanges among scientists of different generations, cultures and disciplines, but also showcase to the world that Hong Kong is paving the way for becoming a leading innovation and technology hub.