Each year the AmCham Charitable Foundation recognize the outstanding achievements of local students with awards and scholarships. The Lyn Edinger US Studies Scholarship and AmCham Charitable Foundation Scholar Award were recently awarded to six students who will surely be a part of Hong Kong’s bright future.
By Leo Lai
With its proximity to China and Southeast Asia, favorable tax laws and a plethora of talents, Hong Kong is an ideal place to do business. But to ensure this continues, it is important to nurture the next generation of leaders. Therefore, every year the AmCham Charitable Foundation awards the Lyn Edinger US Studies Scholarship and the Scholar Award to several outstanding students with a global vision and potential to further Hong Kong’s excellence.
This year, the award ceremony was held in July in conjunction with a luncheon talk by Christina Choi, Senior Director, Investment Products at the Securities and Futures Commission. As Choi gave an update on the Mutual Recognition of Funds between the Mainland and Hong Kong, the winners eagerly looked on and soaked up the information (click here for full story).
Founded in 1985, the AmCham Charitable Foundation aim to promote the philanthropy spirit in Hong Kong. With the help of the chamber’s extensive business networks and the charitable spirit of its donors, the foundation has been able to support various charitable projects in Hong Kong, with an emphasis on quality education development.
“Raising up talents is very important to Hong Kong’s competitiveness and future,” says James Sun, chairman of the AmCham Charitable Foundation. “The Foundation is serious about this cause and very pleased to present the awards to the outstanding MBA students from the three Hong Kong universities, as well as the local high school graduates who will pursue meaningful studies in the US.”
Front row, from left: AmCham Chairman (2005) Jon Zinke, SFC Senior Director of Investment Products Christina Choi, and AmCham Chairman (1996) Mark Michelson.
Back row, from left: Financial Services Committee Chair Steven Chan, Celeste Chan, Ryan Chung, Christopher Cheung, Jason Yeung and Financial Services Committee Vice-Chair Christina Elleker.
Becoming a Global Citizen
Established in 2002, the Lyn Edinger US Studies Scholarship is a HK$16,000 scholarship presented to outstanding local secondary school graduates with an excellent academic record, good leadership skills and a willingness to serve their community. Winners also have to be successfully admitted to a US university for a full-time undergraduate program.
Celeste Chan, one of the three winners of this year’s scholarship, will be enrolling in an innovative and demanding dual BA program jointly offered by the Columbia University in New York and Sciences Po in Paris, France.
When asked about her personal aspirations and how they are linked to the program, she expressed her aspiration is to work in international relations. Her goal would be working for the United Nations.
“The specialty of this program is that it is picking the essence of European and American education, as well as the different backgrounds, history and cultures,” says the student from the German Swiss International School (GSIS).
As a believer of ‘walking the walk’, there is really no better option for Chan than completing two years of undergraduate studies in each country. “This program will prepare me for my aspirations, in terms of language skills as well as international exposure from American and European background.”
From her high school experiences of going abroad to work with kids, she stresses that the trips have given her a unique insight into those countries and the underprivileged children there.
“In a way, human connections can be transposed to a macro perspective, such as the relations between countries, which works in a similar dynamics as working with these children. I think international [experience] counts a lot for me and they have made me the person [I am] today,” Chan says.
May Huang, an incoming freshman of the University of Chicago, dreams of becoming a writer. She is attracted by the writing intensive courses and the creative writing opportunities offered at the university. But besides writing, the student from the Chinese International School has big aspirations for her time in Chicago.
“I hope to improve the way English is taught at local schools in Hong Kong. I can learn a lot from the University of Chicago’s far-reaching work with local school systems. I want to emerge from college as a well learned, curious and inspired global citizen; the school’s multidisciplinary core curriculum, travel abroad options and vibrant community would help me do just that,” she says.
When asked for any advice for her fellow teenagers looking to achieve big things in life, she answers, “Instead of limiting the scope of your endeavors to what your school offers, definitely pursue your interests beyond your immediate community! Whether you write for a journal based in the US or play with musicians from Italy, you’ll be surprised at how much you learn.”
The third recipient of this year’s Lyn Edinger US Studies Scholarship is also from the Chinese International School. Kate Wang Yun-Yi is a soon-to-be freshman at Princeton University, enrolled in a liberal arts program. She thinks it offers her plenty of flexibility as well as the freedom to pursue different types of career after graduation.
Regarding the benefits of studying overseas, Wong share a similar view as Chan and Huang, believing in the need to step out of one’s comfort zone. She believes it is an essential way to learn and to become a more rounded person.
Eyes on the Prize
The AmCham Charitable Foundation Scholar Award was established in 1977 by AmCham to recognize full-time MBA students of their excellent academic results. The University of Hong Kong (HKU), Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) each nominate a first-year MBA student who achieved outstanding results in their first year to be awarded HK$10,000 and a Certificate of Merit.
Christopher Cheung of HKUST received his undergraduate degree in Canada. He chose to continue his studies in a MBA program in Hong Kong because he wanted to extend his business knowledge outside of North America. He thought that with Hong Kong being the financial hub of the region, it would give him a balanced access to opportunities in China and the Asia Pacific region.
Ryan Chung also has his eyes on the future prospects of Asia Pacific which is why he chose to complete his MBA degree at HKU after doing his undergraduate studies in Canada. “I have found myself most attracted to the Asia Pacific because it is very vibrant, very multicultural and diverse. That’s why I decided to come back to Hong Kong,” he says.
Jason Yeung of CUHK certainly agrees with the other two winners. He is attracted by Hong Kong’s unique position as well. “Hong Kong, being an international financial center for China, will have a very promising future. With the intention to develop my career in Asia Pacific, it would benefit me to stay in Hong Kong.”
All three winners are clearly optimistic about the business opportunities in Hong Kong. “I see Hong Kong continuing to be very strong in the financial sector, such as with the upcoming mutual fund recognition between China and Hong Kong, and also rounding out the edges as an offshore RMB center,” Chang says.
Yeung adds, “I believe the future of Hong Kong will be bright as long as it maintains a sound and efficient legal system and continue to attract overseas talents.”
However, Cheung is aware of possible challenges as well. “To remain competitive, I think Hong Kong needs to transform and develop a new set of competitive advantages.”
Besides the two scholarships, earlier in July, the AmCham Charitable Foundation also recognized the achievements of 20 high school students with the Prize Book Award.
The winners all displayed excellence in academics, community service and leadership. They were awarded a $1,000 worth of book coupons, a certificate of achievement and a series of books, The Americans, an award winning, historic trilogy by Daniel J Boorstin.
|2014/15 AmCham Charitable Foundation Scholar Awards||2014/15 AmCham Charitable Foundation Scholar Awards|
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
German Swiss International School
University of Hong Kong
Chinese International School
Chinese University of Hong Kong
|Kate Wang Yun-Yi
Chinese International School
*May Huang and Kate Wang were not in Hong Kong and their awards were accepted by their representatives.