Newsletter No. 83

The 50th Congregatio n Lord Wilso n o f Tillyorn, GCMC , Governo r of Hon g Kon g 1987-92 , wa s conferre d the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, at the University's 50th congregation held in the Sir Run Run Shaw Hal l o n 18t h January. He is the third former Chancellor of the University to hav e bee n so honoured, afte r Si r Robert Black an d the late Sir David Trench. On the same occasion, famous historia n Prof. Jonathan Spence was awarded the degree of Docto r o f Literature, honoris causa, an d two eminen t loca l entrepreneurs , Mr . Tang Hsiang Chien , OBE , an d Mr. Thoma s Che n Tseng-tao, CBE, were awarded the degree of Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa. The citations for Lord Wilson and Prof. Spence were written by Prof. Andrew Parki n and delivered in English. Those for Drs. Tang and Chen were written by Dr. Serena Jin and delivered i n Putonghua. H.E . th e Governo r and Chancellor of the University, the Rt. Hon. Christopher Patten officiated at the ceremony, which was attended by some 700 guests. In a n address mad e on behal f of the honorar y graduates , Lor d Wilso n urged the new generation of university students t o adopt a pragmatic and positive approac h i n dealing wit h unfamiliar people and situations. To be successful futur e leader s o f Hon g Kong, h e said, the y shoul d equi p themselves wit h a deep understanding of China and its history, a spirit of enterprise, and a sense o f communit y service. Lord Wilson also called upon Hong Kon g an d China t o understand each other's special characteristics and to avoi d th e danger of stereotypes. H e said , '...making a success of the futur e o f Hong Kong requires knowledge and understanding from both sides. It requires persistent contact and dialogue — on both sides. And it demands the avoidanc e o f the eas y stereotyp e — on both sides. ' The full text of Lord Wilson's speech and the citations will be published in the Chinese University Bulletin (Sprin g • Summe r 1996 issue). A te a receptio n wa s hel d afte r the congregation i n the Benjamin Frankli n Centre, an d a dinner i n honour o f the honorary graduate s wa s hoste d by Sir Q. W. Lee, chairma n o f the Universit y Council, on 19th January at Hotel Furama Kempinski. 1996 Japan Prize Goes to Prof. Charles Kao Vice-Chancellor Prof . Charle s K . Kao has recently bee n awarded th e Japan Prize, the highest honou r bestowe d b y Japan on scientists of international stature . Established in 198 5 by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan, the Japan Prize honours scientists who are recognized as havin g accomplishe d origina l an d outstanding achievement s i n science and technology, thu s contributin g t o th e progress of science an d technology an d to the peace and prosperity o f mankind. Tw o fields o f scienc e an d technology ar e designated fo r the awar d of the prize eac h year. Prof . Ka o i s the awardee in the fiel d of information , computer , an d communication systems. Th e awardee i n the other field, neuroscience, is an eminent Japanese scientist. Prof. Kao has been invited to attend the award presentatio n ceremon y t o be held in April a t the National Theatre in Tokyo. Sir Run Run Shaw Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture 1996 World renowne d geographe r Prof . Aki n Mabogunje, i n his capacity a s the 1996 Sir Run Ru n Shaw Distinguishe d Visitin g Scholar, visite d th e Universit y fro m 11th to 20th January. He conducted a public lectur e entitled 'Afric a i n th e 21st Century : Challenges of the Last Investment Frontier' , on 17th January at the Lecture Theatre of Shaw College. In thre e decade s o f political independence, Africa ha s failed to convert its ample resources int o a sustainable, wealth-creatin g capability. I n this, th e continent contrast s sharply wit h Asi a wher e many countrie s ar e fast becomin g the focus o f rapid economi c growth in the world. In the lecture, the basis of this contrast was explored through a brief review of Karl Marx' s treatise on the 'Asia n mode of production'. Prof . Mabogunj e als o spoke about African development in the 21st century an d Afric a a s the last frontie r for investment growth . Born i n Nigeri a i n 1931 , Prof . Mabogunje wa s educate d a t the University College of Ibadan and received his Ph.D. from the Universit y o f London. A n authority on human geograph y an d urbanization, he has taught at universities in Ibadan, Canada, USA, Brazil an d Sweden, an d has won many prestigious award s and honours. He was for many year s consultan t t o the Nigerian government an d th e Unite d Nations , an d is currently chairma n o f the Firs t Interstat e Merchant Ban k (Nigeria ) Ltd . an d Nigeria' s Development Polic y Centre in Ibadan. First Wheelchair Bank for children with Neuromuscular Diseases The Facult y o f Medicine se t up the first seating clinic for children with neuromuscular diseases a t the Prince o f Wale s Hospital i n 1994 to improve thei r qualit y of lif e an d increase thei r freedo m o f movement. Children who are severely affected by muscular dystrophy , spina l muscula r atrophies, an d spinal bifid a nee d t o be provided wit h a proper sea t and mobilit y base (fo r example a specially adaptabl e wheelchair) as soon as a diagnosis is made. The earlie r thi s i s done, th e fewer the chances ar e of further complication s and skeletal deformitie s lik e scoliosis , hi p dislocations, an d j o i nt contractures . However, th e majority o f families wit h affected childre n canno t affor d t o buy proper wheelchair s or seating systems . Cathay Pacifi c A i r wa y s , wh i l e celebrating it s 50th anniversary , has pledged a generous donatio n o f HK$ 3 m i l l i o n f o r th e establishmen t o f a whee l cha ir ban k t o supplemen t th e existing seatin g clinic . Th e wheelchairs bought f o r the bank w i l l b e specially designed and adaptable models with bod y support system s tha t ca n preven t complications a s the children grow , and w i ll allo w man y t o take par t i n regular educational an d other activities . The wheelchai r ban k wil l benefi t at least 200-30 0 children , an d i s unique i n Southeast Asi a i n its concept o f being a recycling bank that will maximiz e th e use and sharing of the adaptable wheelchairs . There i s also a multi-disciplinary seatin g clinic tea m to look afte r th e fitting o f the wheelchairs an d th e provisio n o f regular monitoring an d evaluation services . PROFESSORIAL INAUGURAL LECTURE ON MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY Prof. Magnus N. Hjelm, professor of chemical pathology, delivered his professorial inaugural lecture on 12th January in the Lecture Theatre of the Clinical Sciences Building at the Prince of Wale s Hospital . Entitle d 'Lookin g fo r Biomolecules', th e lecture focuse d o n developments i n chemical pathology , whic h is a branch of medicine tha t probe s int o the structure an d activities o f molecules t o understand various disease processes. Prof. Hjelm demonstrated that with new developments in the basic sciences, work to establish th e code for the human genome is expected to be completed within the next five years. Code s fo r the production o f tens of thousands of proteins, collectively called the proteome, and their interactions, will also be established. H e concluded tha t th e progressively new development s i n chemical pathology w i l l provid e a better understanding of diseases , an d way s t o combat them.