Rector’s Speech in the Ceremony for the Conferment of Honorary and Higher Degrees 2023 ( 02/12/2023)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, representing the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR and the Chancellor of the University of Macau,

Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Lam Kam Seng Peter,

Honourable Chair of the Honorary Degrees and Titles Committee of the University Council, Dr Kou Kam Fai,

Distinguished Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,

Dear guests, alumni, parents, teachers and students,

Good afternoon!

I would like to welcome all of you to the Ceremony for the Conferment of Honorary and Higher Degrees 2023 of the University of Macau (UM). On behalf of all UM faculty and staff, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to this class of more than 1,500 graduates, and express my sincere appreciation to their family, supervisors and well-wishers.

It is also our honour to confer honorary doctorates on five distinguished individuals today. They are: Professor Cai Fang, Professor Leong Kam Weng, Professor Ching-Ping Wong, Professor Franco Maloberti and Professor William Shiyuan Wang. With their extraordinary academic achievements, they have made outstanding contributions to the development of the world’s economy, science, and culture, serving as role models for UM teachers and students. A fine example has boundless power. We should seek to emulate them, serve, and give back to the community through our knowledge and hard work. Please join me in giving them the most enthusiastic applause as we warmly welcome them and express our utmost respect.

In recent years, with the collective efforts of staff and students alike, UM has kept up with the evolving demands of the new era and positioned itself at the forefront of global higher education. We have also proactively expanded our network of international collaborations. As a result, the university has consistently improved education standards and academic impact, moving step by step towards becoming an internationally recognised university of excellence. In addition, capitalising on the development of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone (ICZ) in Hengqin, the university has been actively formulating strategies to advance research and innovation, and foster industry-academia-research collaborations. The development of UM’s industry-academia-research demonstration base in Hengqin has also achieved positive progress. In particular, this year witnessed the opening of the bridge linking UM campus to the Hengqin Port, which has significantly enhanced the accessibility to and from the ICZ. UM aims to build on the existing foundations and explore further avenues for growth in the Zone.

Dear students, the age of digitalisation and intelligence makes it an imperative to expedite the integration of knowledge and technology across various disciplines and foster synergy. Interdisciplinarity has become an integral concept and feature of UM’s postgraduate education. I trust that you have had the opportunity to experience and engage in it during your studies at UM, and will be adept in application of cross-field, cross-disciplinary knowledge. I am even more gratified that teams of UM teachers and students have won many awards in research and development in recent years, and some of these technological achievements have already been put to use. Examples include the use of the power compensator in Macao’s water treatment plants, and the application of smart fibre optic sensing and acquisition equipment in local construction projects. The first tech enterprise successfully incubated by UM for technology transfer, Digifluidic, released its latest generation product in July this year. This product is set to facilitate industrialisation of digital microfluidic technology, thereby contributing to the development of the health and the high-tech industries in the Greater Bay Area.

At present, the post-pandemic geopolitical and international outlook remains volatile. Global economic recovery has been slow and uneven. These issues are further compounded by an on-going wave of technological and industrial revolution, which continues to have a profound impact on economic and social progress. It is evident to all that the current employment market and competitive environment is more complex and demanding compared to previous times. Many aspects of the future may appear to be ‘foreseeable’ yet ‘unpredictable’. That said, where there are difficulties, there is hope, and challenges and opportunities remain two sides of the same coin. We must stay confident, well-prepared and optimistic. In this regard, I have a few words of advice for my students.

First, rise up to difficulties and dare to tread a challenging path. As the saying goes, ‘it is important to work hard even during times of abundance, and strive on even when life is tranquil.’ The youth should demonstrate the zeal and keenness characteristic of their age, bravely undergo the baptism of trials and tribulations, and emerge even stronger. As the Chinese saying goes, ‘Just like a knife is honed on a whetstone; one’s skills are refined through practice and experience.’ I hope that you will have the courage to venture beyond your comfort zone, both in your future career and personal life, and consciously opt for the arduous trail, taking difficult tasks and environments as opportunities for self-improvement. Only by staying resilient under pressure, keeping your spirits up in times of difficulty, and having the grit to fight through any hardship can you truly harness your abilities, lying flat is simply not an option.

Second, utilise what you have learnt and never cease to innovate. As an UM Master’s or PhD graduate, you have already attained a high level of education. Therefore, you should have the confidence and the means to unleash your true talents no matter what position you may hold in the future. The digital and intelligence era calls for broadening our horizons and pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Only through continuous learning and innovative thinking can we adapt to the ever-changing landscape shaped by new artificial intelligence technologies, and thus constantly enhance our competence. As the world is going through major developments and reforms, I hope you will continue to gain insights, improve adaptability, and continue with innovation in response to your surroundings, dare to venture and explore, and strive to be the pioneers of your era.

Third, aim high and take on responsibilities. Each generation carries its own mission and commitment. I encourage you to align your personal aspirations closely with prevailing trends. Love your country, shoot for the moon while keeping your feet firmly on the ground and maintain an attitude of dedication and pragmatism. Step forward to shoulder ‘the heaviest burden’ and tackle ‘the toughest challenges’. As promising young individuals, you should be prepared to become the pillars of the country, demonstrate commitment, work towards the progress of the country and society as well as the wellbeing of all mankind, and contribute to building a community with a shared future for humanity.

Dear students, you are the hope of the times and the future of the country. I encourage you to believe in your own abilities and potential, and accurately read the pulse of global trends and the development of the country. May you give wings to your dreams, strive forward and create a wonderful life for yourself! I am confident that you will bring change and progress to the world! Last but not least, I would like to wish all the students a happy graduation. And to all the guests, parents and friends, good health and all the very best.

Rector’s Speech in Congregation 2023 (10/06/2023)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, representing the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR,

Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Peter Lam Kam Seng,

Distinguished Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,

Dear guests, parents, teachers and students, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the 2023 Congregation of the University of Macau. We are gathered here today to witness a milestone moment in the lives of over 1,700 students. On behalf of the University of Macau, I am delighted to extend my warm congratulations to all graduates, and my sincere gratitude to the teachers and parents that have cared for, supported and guided them throughout their studies!

Dear graduates, of the four years of your university lives, you have lived through three of them under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. It would not be an overstatement to call you the ‘Extraordinary Class of Covid Survivors’. In these extraordinary times, you have experienced exceptional growth and demonstrated determination, courage, and embodied the spirit and qualities expected of youth of the new era. Among the graduates seated here today are those who have volunteered selflessly in the combat against the pandemic, those who have served as teachers in rural mountainous regions of China, those who competed fiercely in various sport, technology, language and cultural contests as well as those who have acted as cultural ambassadors and left their marks all over the world through our student exchange programmes. Over these unusual four years, you have made extraordinary efforts and attained extraordinary achievements. The skills you have gathered will lay a strong foundation for more adventures in your next chapter in life.

At present, ‘our world, our times, and history are changing in unprecedented ways.’ We are being tested by a series of challenges – relentless geopolitical conflicts, exacerbating competition over advanced technologies, persistent and on-going social problems, just to name a few. All of these issues may continue to evolve. Not only will they have a continued and far-reaching impact on the development of all countries in the world, but they will also affect each and every one of us. They will be unprecedented challenges and opportunities.

Dear students, a young person who has successfully completed higher education should have the qualities, courage and determination to navigate stormy seas, cope with changes, embrace opportunities and lead a meaningful life. You have gone through your learning and formative years amidst a technological revolution, a once-in-a-century pandemic and a changing global order that is unseen in a hundred years. You should be able to rise above any challenge and difficulty with calm and ease. At this critical historical juncture and under these extraordinary circumstances, the wind is just right to send your sails surging forward towards your dreams. I, therefore, have three pieces of advice or wishes for you.

First, I hope you will be brave to seek new vistas and never stop learning. The world now is going through a period of great leaps, profound transformations and deep adjustments. Artificial intelligent programmes such as ChatGPT are developing rapidly. A new round of technological revolution and industrial reform driven by innovation is taking shape and gathering ferocious speed. It took Facebook four and a half years to reach 100 million users, Instagram two and a half years, and ChatGPT merely two months. The use and development of technology may bring disruptive, fundamental changes to human society. We must learn to embrace and adapt to new technologies and their applications, strengthen our ability to learn by ourselves, readily expand our knowledge boundaries and evolve effective methods to learn and update ourselves. At the same time, we must develop a lifelong interest in learning, and turn our hunger for knowledge into a desire to innovate and create. For you, graduation is not the end of your learning, but a new beginning, and it is only by continuing to learn that you can fly higher and further!

Second, I hope you will shoulder the responsibilities of the times and make the most of your youth. Although each generation has their own distinctive features, the youth in China have always been committed to the same cause. Each generation brings forth new talents and each generation has their own mission. The prosperity of our country and the rejuvenation of our nation lies in your hands and can only be assured if you take up this cause and strive for it. Time pushes forward, and so must we. The growth and experiences in the process will inevitably help us build a stronger mind. Remember the saying – ‘With dreams in heart, responsibilities on shoulders, we will march forward with determination and strength.’ I hope you will make the best of your youth and continue with the core value of love for the nation and Macao. I hope you will align your personal growth with the development of Macao and the country, and fully play your important role as the young generation of pioneers steering us forward, developing the One Country, Two Systems framework and contributing to the grand rejuvenation of our nation.

Third, I hope you will aim for greater achievements with your country and the world in mind. As the young generation of the new era faced with a complex and ever-changing environment at home and abroad, you should have an optimistic vision of the future of human civilisation, develop a world view that ‘all men share the same destiny and walk the same path’ and make this one of your core values, and for that, you must join the grand mission of building a community with a shared future for all mankind. You need to constantly work on yourself, cultivate your character and your mind, and develop an international outlook that is underpinned by extensive and profound knowledge. You need to tune in to the call of our country and our times, aspire to serve all of humanity, foster a mindset that is open to different opinions and views, dare to pursue noble dreams, and accomplish greater objectives with an ever more forward-looking vision and ambition!

Dear students, you are about to embark on a new journey in life. I hope that in your future adventures you will continue to bear the mark of the motto of UM – ‘Humanity, Integrity, Propriety, Wisdom and Sincerity’, and that you will achieve excellence and realise your dreams despite all the challenges and difficulties that may come your way!

Congratulations on your graduation and I wish you a bright future ahead! To all our guests I wish you all good health and all the very best!

Thank you!

Rector’s Speech in the Ceremony for the Conferment of Higher Degrees 2022 ( 26/11/2022)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, representative of the Chancellor of the University of Macau,

Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Lam Kam Seng Peter,

Distinguished Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,

Distinguished guests, alumni, parents, teachers and students:

Good afternoon!

Today, a total of 1,306 postgraduate students are graduating from the University of Macau, harvesting the rewards of their efforts. On behalf of the University, I would like to extend my warmest felicitations to all graduates and regards to the faculty members who dedicated themselves to guiding these students to success. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to all stakeholders in the wider community who have supported the development of the University.

Postgraduate study is undoubtedly full of challenges and hardship. Not only are you faced with more stringent academic training, your intellect and will are also constantly put to test, and your character and spirit continually forged. More importantly, on the path of academic research you are required to ask questions and look for answers, create and make your contribution to academia. Dear students, I can imagine that your time at UM would have been busy, yet exciting and fulfilling. You would have started your day early in the research laboratories to work on your experiment and finished late into the night. You might have buried your head among heaps of books at the Wu Yee Sun Library, and burnt the midnight oil, only to search for that bit of knowledge that would spark your imagination. You would have engaged in invigorating conversations with your teachers and classmates in classrooms, at a cafeteria in S8 or under the shade of trees on the Central Avenue. You probably broke a sweat at the N8 Sports Complex and on the waterfront running track so that you could dive into your studies and research the following day feeling refreshed and energised. All these are not just marks you have left on the UM campus, but also fond memories of your university life that you will hopefully cherish dearly. These experiences, insight and the sense of belonging you have fostered throughout your campus life will become part of unforgettable memories shared by all of you. My dear students, we urge you to seek knowledge with an unquenchable thirst and pursue scientific inquiry with an ever-growing passion. We encourage you to find elegant answers to your research questions and contribute to the development of your areas of study. Today is a testament to your achievement, both personal and intellectual. In the years to come, we will continue to stand by you, cheer for you and be proud of all your growth and successes every step along the way.

In recent years, in response to the development of our nation in general  and the Greater Bay Area in particular, UM has inaugurated new postgraduate programmes in various fields, aiming to offer more interdisciplinary platforms that aid in the integration of knowledge in graduate studies in addition to nurturing talent for the advancement of the society. I am delighted to see that many who have graduated from these programmes have already secured opportunities where they can apply their skills and abilities to make their mark on the development of Macao and the Greater Bay Area.

The world today is increasingly complex and volatile. It is going through a paradigm shift and changes unseen in a century are afoot. The 20th National Congress this year ushered in a new era in China where the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will be advanced through a uniquely Chinese path to modernisation. While great achievements lift our spirit, far-reaching goals motivate us to work even harder. As we set our eyes to the future, we should remain confident and brace ourselves for the challenges ahead. For this I offer you three suggestions, which are also for us all to reflect upon:

First, success requires both great ambitions and the courage to assume great responsibilities. Dear students, as the brains of our society, the pillars of our nation and the future of our world, you must dare to dream big and fly high, while striving to do good work and achieve good results. Now is the time to forge ahead and take things into one’s own hands. I hope you set goals that are as high as the sky and assume responsibilities that are expected of you by the times. I hope you will overcome all challenges and obstacles to accomplish great things.

Second, lead a life full of confidence and humility. I hold dear two principles which I think can be of great value to the younger generation. One is about staying motivated by being confident and bold, and the other about knowing one’s value by practising humility and keeping a clear head. In times of adversity, remind yourself of the first principle, which will help you keep calm and committed. And in good times, remember the second one so that you remain sensible, careful and humble.

Third, embrace hardship, work hard and be down-to-earth. In the future you may face more ferocious competition and a more volatile environment. Difficulties and challenges may come at you anytime. You must learn to stand alone, endure hardship and foster resilience. ‘Do not run after castles in the air or empty words.’ You must set out to travel your own path with both feet firmly on the ground.

Dear students, looking back at these few years of your studies at UM, you will know that you have lived through the immense challenges brought about by the pandemic and witnessed the University’s milestone of its 40th anniversary. You have learned and inherited UM’s motto of ‘Humanity, Integrity, Propriety, Wisdom and Sincerity’. ‘Chinese youths of today have been born at the right time. The stage for their talent to flourish has never been bigger, and the prospect of realising dreams has never been brighter.’ With the sincerest heart, I wish all of you success and prosperity in all your ventures! Good health and best of luck to you all! Thank you.

Rector’s Speech in Congregation 2022 (28/05/2022)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, representing the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR and the Chancellor of the University of Macau,

Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Lam Kam Seng Peter,

Distinguished Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,

Dear guests, alumni, parents, faculty and students,

Good afternoon! Welcome to the Congregation 2022 of the University of Macau (UM).

Today will be a memorable day for the more than 1,800 students who have graduated from our undergraduate programmes and are about to embark on a new journey in their lives. This comes after overcoming the challenges brought about by the pandemic that has affected their studies for nearly three years. I am delighted to be here with you all to witness this important moment in your lives. On behalf of the University of Macau, I would like to extend hereby, my warmest congratulations to all the students who have successfully completed their studies. My sincere appreciation also goes to your teachers and parents for their hard work and dedication.

Dear students, you are the first batch of undergraduates that were enrolled since my joining UM in 2018. This has added to the sense of connection I have with you. Like myself, you have spent four unforgettable years at the University together. We have witnessed and experienced what can only be described as a difficult yet remarkable period for the University and Macao as a whole. We have overcome challenges during the pandemic and strived hard to forge ahead and take our careers to greater heights.

These four years have undoubtedly been an incredible challenge and experience for me personally. As the administrator of the university, I have had to assume responsibility in the face of the unprecedented difficulties and do my utmost to safeguard the physical and mental health of students, faculty and staff in the midst of a pandemic, while ensuring the smooth operation of the University’s teaching and research. At the same time, I have also continued to improve the talent cultivation system to meet the development needs of the country and the SAR, explore new paths in the mechanism to encourage research innovation and transfer of results and to satisfy market demands, strengthen the University’s social service, and make rational and efficient use of resources to actively promote the development of UM. I am very pleased and also touched that our efforts have received the appreciation, cooperation and support of all our faculty and students, and that all specific areas of work in the University achieved unprecedented synergy, moving forward hand in hand and overcoming difficulties. This unity of purpose and effort has veritably enabled the University to sustain its momentum and enhance its international reputation. It has also given me greater confidence for the future development of the University of Macau!

As students, you may find that these four years of university life have been different from what you might have imagined or expected. You have had to face academic challenges and various kinds of stress. Some of you may understandably feel that four years at the university have passed in a blink of the eye, leaving you confused and uncertain about your future. Dear students, I would like to suggest that you can take this moment to reflect on the hardships and hard work you have been put in over the last four years. You will find that you have developed a unique character as a ‘UMer’, gathered specialised knowledge and honed your skills and abilities. You should feel proud of yourselves and have the courage and confidence to embrace the future.

Here, I would like to share three ideas with you.

First, Positivity and Resilience. Today’s complex and volatile world, with the ever-changing situation with the pandemic has given us a real sense of how precious peace, tranquillity and stability are. There may be challenges in terms of employment during the pandemic. However, I am confident that all these hurdles will be temporary. We should maintain a positive outlook on life and look to the future. I was born and raised in a mountain village in Sichuan Province. The circumstances I faced back then were way harsher than they are now. Today, that mountain village in my hometown is dubbed ‘Village of Doctors’, because it has produced more than 20 people with a doctorate. Many of them currently work as presidents or professors at top universities in the Mainland. When we were teenagers, we were convinced that ‘knowledge can change destiny’. Therefore we were not afraid of hardships and difficulties. Step by step and with unremitting efforts, we eventually entered a better phase of life where we could realise our personal value. Hard work during youth is beneficial for a lifetime, so never idle away your time. I hope you can stay ever optimistic, viewing obstacles as tests, and remaining cheerful in the face of adversity. Perseverance and an enterprising spirit are important for finding purpose and achieving excellence in life.

Second, Make a Mark and Say No to ‘Lying Flat’. Dear students, you are now in the prime of your youth. Being the next generation, you are the future of the country and the SAR and, therefore, are entrusted with certain social responsibilities. I know that there is a trend among young people to make fun of each other as having taken up a ‘Zen’ attitude or that of ‘lying-flat’. But the pursuit of dreams and the realisation of personal values are serious matters and should not be regarded with such passivity. The new era has brought about many platforms and opportunities, but at the same time, it poses greater requirements and responsibilities. We have been born in an opportune time with historic responsibilities ahead of us. In this ever-advancing and ever-evolving world of today, I hope you will be brave to shoulder responsibilities and be keen to strive for achievements, instead of being mere bystanders giving in to the passive ‘lying flat’ mentality. I hope you will contribute to the prosperity of the country and Macao in your own way, to the best of your ability, so as to live up to what is expected of us at this historical juncture.

Thirdly, Expand Horizons. ‘If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. And if you can dream it, you can become it.’ How we think influences how we see the world and how we act, and it ultimately determines how we are valued in society. Through the ages, those who achieve great things all began with a great vision. Only a vision that is broad and sufficiently forward-thinking can create enough room for you to unleash your full potential. The Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, adjoining the UM campus and separated merely by a wall, serves exactly that function – a major platform for Macao to take part in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, a physical embodiment of the ‘mutual discussion, joint development, joint administration and shared benefits’ mechanism, and a promising land for your future career development. I urge you to take the long view, aim high and step on this bigger stage, to make good use of your knowledge, creativity and abilities, and make improvements and contributions.

This year marks the first year in the University’s five-year plan. As the action plans have strategically outlined, the University will actively work towards various development goals. My dear students, as you are about to graduate from here and embark on a new chapter in life, you may also try setting goals and action plans using the five-year time frame, so that you have your life well-planned for the next five years. I hope that this will help you put your dreams into action and create marvellous chapters of life that are uniquely yours.

Dear students, as the pandemic remains serious worldwide, you must take good care of yourselves. We will be thinking of you, no matter where you are and where you will be going. We all look forward to the day when the pandemic eventually comes to an end and life returns to normal. Last but not least, I wish you all good health, good luck and every success in your future endeavours. We hope to see you often on campus in the future. I would also like to wish all our guests and their families good health and all the very best. Thank you!

Rector’s Speech in the Ceremony for the Conferment of Honorary and Higher Degrees 2021 ( 11/12/2021)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, representative of the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR and the Chancellor of the University of Macau,

Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Lam Kam Seng Peter,

Honourable Chair of the Honorary Degrees and Titles Committee of the University Council, Mr Lei Pui Lam,

Distinguished Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,

Distinguished guests, dear alumni, parents, teachers and students,

Good afternoon!

This is a memorable occasion for those of you who are graduating this year. After much hard work, perseverance and dedication, you are finally reaping the rewards of your labour and welcoming a new chapter in life. On behalf of all faculty and staff members of the University of Macau (UM), I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all of you.

I would also like to pay the highest tribute to seven distinguished individuals who are receiving honorary doctorates today. To Professor Lawrence Juen-yee Lau, Professor Kaixian Chen, Professor Shuji Nakamura, Professor Li Lanjuan, Professor Lee Hau Leung, Professor Zhu Lilan and Ms Aglaia Kong Chio Fai. With your dedication and knowledge, you have made extraordinary contributions to our nation and to the world. It is a privilege for the University to be associated with distinguished individuals like you.

After four decades of development, the University now finds itself in a world characterised by profound changes and rapidly evolving technologies. With continuous adaptation and innovation, proactive attitude and investment, we will be able to respond to the new requirements for talent nurturing and technological innovation brought about by the current situation and trends. This year, the University released the outline and blueprint for its development over the next five years. As a university with roots in Macao, we are committed to participating in the development of the Greater Bay Area and that of the nation, in addition to promoting internationalisation. UM seeks to deliver student-centred quality education, research with international impact and high-standard community services. This is in line with our aim to become an internationally recognised university of excellence. Going forward, UM will take on more responsibilities. Through first-class talent nurturing, research, results transfer and diversified community service, it will support measured economic diversification and sustainable development of Macao in a tangible way, and actively respond to the strategic needs of the country’s development.

Dear students, the persistence of the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated drastic changes currently taking place around the world. And a new wave of technological and industrial transformation has highlighted the importance of technological innovation to the future of our nation. Achieving technological self-reliance, engaging in technological cooperation internationally, and addressing common challenges facing mankind have become irreversible trends for the foreseeable future. In 2021, the announcement of the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan and the Long-term Objectives through 2035 ushered in a new journey in the quest for building a modern socialist country. The development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin has presented us with more opportunities for growth. I would like to take this opportunity to share with the graduating class three ideas for inspiration.

First, setting goals and meeting challenges. We are now at a historic juncture where the two centenary goals need to be realised. The world is in the midst of profound changes unseen in a century. Our nation is at its best moment in contemporary history in terms of development. As our nation forges ahead, we will be provided with ample opportunities for greater achievements. As the Chinese proverb says, ‘a scholar may not be without a lofty ambition and perseverance, for he has important missions and a long way to go.’ While your national pride has been cultivated by our times, you must also carry a strong sense of responsibility and mission, and consciously align your own personal pursuit with the nation’s future and contribute to the nation’s rejuvenation. I hope that you all will hold fast to your beliefs and set ambitious goals, and that you will, in a time of change, step up and deliver your best in addressing the exigencies of our time with courage and determination. This will ensure that you can make the most of your prime years and become pillars of our society.

Second, Pioneering and Innovation. As President Xi Jinping once remarked, ‘Every generation has its own Long March.’ You represent the new blood in the vanguard of the march towards a bright future for the Chinese nation’s development and rejuvenation. Whatever your future careers or positions, when it comes to pursuing your ideals and ambition, you will do well to keep your feet firmly on the ground and at the same time embracing the spirit of pioneering and innovation with wisdom. I hope that you can remain energetic, dynamic, open-minded and confident, and always stand at the forefront of innovation-driven development. In this way, you will become outstanding talents who can lead trends and contribute to social progress.

Third, Resilience and Perseverance. Life is but a hard and tortuous journey. The journey to your goal will never be plain sailing. Sometimes, it can be bumpy and strewn with obstacles. As you burnt the midnight oil and put in strenuous efforts in your studies, while also surviving the challenges brought about by COVID-19, I have to believe that you have gained understanding of hardships and setbacks. Youth shines through hardships; life is elevated through hard work. I hope that you will display true grit in your future endeavours. Meet challenges and difficulties courageously like a ship breaking through the wind and waves, and press forward with an indomitable will, so that you will become a strong and resilient young generation that can shoulder major responsibilities.

Dear students, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of UM’s establishment, together with the University, let us embark on a new journey, take on new challenges and set sail for new horizons with hope and pride. I trust that you will always keep in mind the University motto ‘Humanity, Integrity, Propriety, Wisdom and Sincerity’, and exert yourselves with self-confidence as you forge ahead on the road of life, in science as in humanities. I wish all the graduates a prosperous future. And to all our guests, good health and all the very best. Thank you!

Rector’s Speech in Congregation 2021 (19/06/2021)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, representing the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR and the Chancellor of the University of Macau,

Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Lam Kam Seng Peter,

Distinguished Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,

Dear guests, alumni, parents, faculty and students,

Good afternoon. Welcome to the 2021 Congregation of the University of Macau (UM), where we will be witness to an important milestone in the lives of more than 1,500 undergraduate students who are graduating this year. On behalf of the university, I would like to extend hereby, my warm congratulations to every student who has successfully completed their studies! My sincere appreciation also to your teachers and parents, who have always stood by you, supported you and guided you!

The year 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the University of Macau. Therefore, graduating in this year is of special significance. Even though we have not yet fully recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, things are moving in a good direction. Dear students, before its return to the motherland, Macao found itself in an economic depression with poor law and order. Graduating in that era, our alumni were faced with a future full of challenges and uncertainties. However, with a positive attitude and a strong will, they have made it to where they are today through unremitting hard work and struggle. Some of them have become important figures in their fields and pillars of the society. Some have also been recognised by the society and decorated by the SAR government for their outstanding contributions and achievements. They are all role models for us. Dear students, we continue to face difficulties brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic, as well as the changing international dynamics. Nevertheless, these difficulties are only temporary. Our long-term prospects are bright. We should remain positive and optimistic as we move on to the new starting point in life. Here, I would like to share three ideas with you.

First, Pressing ahead fearlessly. The on-going pandemic has impacted the global economy and society, students graduating this year may therefore face challenges in securing jobs. The challenges include a general reduction in the number of jobs available and greater competition than ever. Although things may be somewhat different from what you expected, I trust that you will be able to adapt and actively confront the difficulties and challenges, taking them as a way to gain precious experience. Just as the inspiring words of President Xi Jinping exhort us, ‘Where there is a will, there is more than one way to solve a problem.’ Today, you are about to take your first step into society. You should have faith in yourselves, and also know how to seize and capitalise on the opportunities at hand. After all, even seemingly insignificant opportunities may well be the key to future success. Hazel Huang, an undergraduate alumna of UM, who has established a health technology company in Macao and Zhuhai, has become a successful young entrepreneur. As a fresh graduate, she initially worked at a pharmaceutical company in the Chinese mainland. She did not mind the rather low starting salary. Instead, she took the opportunities her job offered to learn about and understand the development of the pharmaceutical industry, and eventually accumulated a wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts. Her success in entrepreneurship was due in large part to her ample experience gathered through entrepreneurship competitions and internships in the mainland, but even more crucial was her perseverance and positive attitude in trying new things.

Second, Aiming high with feet firmly on the ground. In the post-COVID era, technological development and application is expected to progress at a tremendous pace. The international political and economic climate, as well as patterns of social development, may also witness various changes. The youth are adept at accepting new things and adapting to new environments. But one should also have the courage to experiment, adapt and seek progress through innovation. The new era needs dreamers since ‘nothing in this world can be achieved without strong ideals.’ The new era will belong to those who strive since ‘where there is a will, there will be a way.’ Dear students, Zuo Zongtang, a well-known Chinese figure from the late Qing dynasty famously said, ‘Look high, stand firm and travel wide.’ I hope you can be ambitious and far-sighted, while remaining steadfast in your pursuit of dreams and ideals. However, ideals cannot be empty thoughts. Never become giants in thought and dwarfs in action. Plan and act on your goals and ideals. Whether you choose to continue your education or enter the workplace, I hope you can set your goal, work hard, and make real progress towards your goals through persistence. I hope you can navigate this ever-changing environment, unleash your potential, and achieve your life goals.

Third, Seizing opportunities. While the pandemic continues to rage around the world, the Chinese mainland and Macao have almost become the safest places on the earth. Not only is the pandemic effectively controlled, even the economy has begun to show green shoots. These achievements are open for the whole world to see and fully reflect the advantages of our system of governance. This year, the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives through the Year 2035 has been officially issued. This shows that the nation will embark on a new journey with more proactive deployment. Dear students, in the prime of your life, you are experiencing profound changes unseen in a century, and participating in the realising of China’s second Centenary Goal and national rejuvenation. I hope you can pay more attention to and better understand the macro-level policies and trends in the nation, develop a big-picture vision, and integrate your personal growth into the development of Macao and the nation. ‘A nation will prosper only when its young people thrive.’ At the dawn of this new period in your life, my hope is that you will become promising young people with a sense of responsibility and the courage to innovate, that you will accept challenges and pursue dreams, and become a contributor to the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework with love for the SAR and the nation.

Dear students, the grave situation at present poses serious challenges, but it is also an once-in-a-lifetime test. I sincerely wish that our students will start a new journey in life with confidence and optimism and pursue their dreams bravely. Congratulations on your graduation and I wish you a bright future. Hope you can come back to visit UM often. I would also like to wish everyone here good health and all the very best.

Thank you!

Rector’s Speech in Congregation 2020 (28/11/2020)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, representing the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR and Chancellor of the University of Macau,
Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Peter Lam Kam Seng,
Distinguished Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,
Distinguished guests, alumni, parents, teachers and students,

Good afternoon!

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is largely under control in the Chinese mainland and Macao, but still an uncertainty at the global level, we are gathered here to mark a special graduation ceremony. This will be one that no one will ever forget. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, some students and parents are unable to attend this particularly meaningful ceremony in person under these extraordinary circumstances. They can only join us via video link. However, I am sure that we are all equally thankful and excited at this moment. On behalf of the University of Macau (UM), I extend hereby my warmest congratulations to students who overcame all difficulties and completed their studies successfully in spite of the pandemic, my congratulations to their families and friends as well. I would also like to pay the highest tribute to all dedicated and selfless professors, and express my sincerest gratitude to all sectors of the society for their strong support to UM during this period.

The coronavirus has been a huge challenge to countries, societies, universities and all individuals. During the pandemic, UM gave top priority to the safety, and physical and mental health of our teachers and students. We have worked relentlessly and done our utmost to minimise the impact on the teaching and research in the university.

I am glad that even though students were compelled to stay apart, they cared for and supported each other, and actively participated in the fight against the coronavirus, all the while keeping pace with their studies. Some students joined the online promotion team of a pandemic response volunteer group, where they completed an online report on the pandemic and shared positive stories with all. There were also students who recorded success stories in the fight against the pandemic in Macao through interviews and surveys, of their own accord. A collection of these stories was published as their graduation work, entitled ‘A Tale of Macao during the Pandemic’. Meanwhile, professors held steadfast to their positions and made unremitting efforts to constantly adapt and improve online teaching. Research teams raced against the clock to provide support in response to the coronavirus outbreak. All sections of the university played an active part to facilitate pandemic control and prevention measures in Macao. For example, a professional psychological counselling team comprising of UM professors, psychotherapists and counsellors provided mental health support services to the community at large. Concurrently, the university consolidated its internal and external teaching resources to offer SME training courses to the public free of charge.

I can say that during the pandemic, professors and students demonstrated strong will and dedication, allowing the university to give full play to its capabilities in order to adapt and serve in face of the epidemic. Each and every one of you deserves the highest applause for your efforts and contribution.

Dear class of 2020, as your alma mater and Macao emerge successfully from the pandemic, the joyous moment also marks one when you are about to bid farewell to the campus and embark on a new journey in life. At this moment, I would like to share three suggestions with you:

First, more than ever, we should have a sense of patriotism and responsibility. In the face of a catastrophe faced by all mankind, the responsibility and strengths demonstrated by our country, which included the concerted efforts of the Macao SAR government and all sectors of the society, have taught us the most profound and inspiring lesson. It has given us a deeper and more direct appreciation for our home and the nation. The world today is undergoing major changes that are unseen in a century. Not only do we need to have a concern for the whole world and the awareness to participate in solving common problems faced by mankind; we also need to have love for our home country and the courage to shoulder the mission to protect and build our home while fulfilling our personal goals.

Second, more than ever, we should stay optimistic and persevere. The unexpected ‘beast’ of the pandemic has caused us to face a lot of difficulties and losses as never before. This year has been a challenging year for all of us, and I believe each of you has your own personal feelings and thoughts on this matter. Perhaps we have had many worries and concerns, but history and experience tell us that we will always find a way to overcome adversity and weather the ups and downs. The coronavirus may continue to bring uncertainties in the future. However, no matter what difficulties or setbacks you encounter, I hope you can always remain sunny and positive, rise up to the problems, find ways to tackle them and achieve self-actualisation in the midst of challenges.

Third, more than ever before, we should keep learning and progress through change. The pandemic has revealed to us that enormous changes will take place in lifestyle, technology application, international relations and other aspects of the future world. I believe that you have equipped yourself with a level of knowledge and competencies during your studies at UM to give you confidence in yourself. I hope you will make good use of your knowledge in the future. The future will need you to continue to advance your knowledge. Be ready to think and dare to innovate, more than ever.

Dear students, ‘what’s past is prologue.’ Now you are off to start a new chapter in your life, I hope you will keep in mind and put into action the university’s motto, ‘Humanity, Integrity, Propriety, Wisdom, and Sincerity’. Give your youthful dreams wings to fly, embrace the world with generosity and virtue, and conscientiously put what you have learnt to practice. In closing, before you leave the university, I would like to convey my heartfelt wishes again to the students who could not physically make it to this ceremony. I look forward to your coming back and visiting us when conditions permit. Your alma mater is always open to you with attention, care and warmth. Once again, congratulations, class of 2020. I wish you every success in the future, and wish our guests good health and happiness.

Rector’s Speech in the Ceremony for the Conferment of Honorary and Higher Degrees 2019 ( 09/11/2019)

Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR, Dr Alexis Tam Chon Weng, representing the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR and the Chancellor of the University of Macau,
Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Peter Lam Kam Seng,
Honourable Chair of the Honorary Degrees and Titles Committee of the University Council, Mr Lei Pui Lam,
Members of the University Assembly and the University Council,
Distinguished guests, dear colleagues and students,
Good afternoon.

Welcome to the Ceremony for the Conferment of Honorary and Higher Degrees 2019. On behalf of all members of the university, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the graduates. In addition, I would like to express my gratitude to your teachers, families and friends who supported you during the course of your study.

Today, it is our great privilege to confer the degree of doctor honoris causa upon four luminaries as an expression of our utmost admiration towards the significant contributions that they have made to the university, Macao and the nation in the areas of higher education, science and culture. I am very pleased to introduce to you these four distinguished individuals who will henceforth be intimately associated with the University of Macau (UM). They are: Doctor of Law honoris causa — Mr Qiao Xiaoyang, a key contributor to legislative work that paved the way for the reform and opening up of China as well as a key facilitator for the development of the new campus of UM; Doctor of Education honoris causa — Ms Lau Sin Peng, a senior educationalist who has dedicated herself to the development of education in Macao for many decades; Doctor of Science honoris causa — Prof Dennis Lo Yuk Ming, a renowned expert in clinical applications of molecular biology who has played a pioneering role in the development of non-invasive prenatal diagnostic tests; Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa — Dr Roy Chung Chi Ping, a prominent businessman in Hong Kong who has been committed to drawing talent back to Macao. All four recipients have outstanding accomplishments and have had a profound impact in their chosen fields. It is their dedication, perseverance and persistence that make them shining examples as they are.

As the only public university offering comprehensive education in Macao, UM has been making great strides in development and has become an important window to Macao for the nation and the world. Over the past year, UM has formulated development strategies focused on expansion in size, internationalisation, faculty development and R&D. In response to the trends in higher education, research and innovation in Macao, China and all over the world, UM has adopted the ‘RISE’ strategy, which includes four elements: Relevance, Impact, Significance and Excellence. This strategy allows for efficient talent nurturing and planning of teaching and research. UM has also drawn up a new blueprint to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration with a view to developing UM through both inheritance and innovation, giving full play to its strengths and scaling new heights in the pursuit of excellence.

In line with the nation’s Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Macao SAR government has announced an annex to its Five-year Development Plan, titled The Macao Special Administrative Region’s Participation in the Construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The document gives direction to the development of Macao, and also brings new opportunities for UM to participate in the development of higher education and innovation in the region. Since China formally launched the Greater Bay Area, it has become a development strategy to which the nation attaches high importance. Riding on this wave, the university is working closely with the SAR government in policies and work plans, and is earnestly involved in taking up tasks related to the Outline Development Plan. The measures include: developing the first industry-academia-research demonstration base in the mainland through Zhuhai UM Science & Technology Research Institute for research output transfer, and promoting innovation through the sharing of research resources with partners in the region. The university is also jointly nurturing talent with partner institutions in the Greater Bay Area. This includes launching joint PhD degrees with Shenzhen University and Southern University of Science and Technology, as well as undergraduate exchange programmes with Shenzhen University, Sun Yat-sen University and the South China University of Technology. In addition to these, many university-level alliances have been forged to promote cooperation. By pooling together the research and teaching strengths of members, it is hoped that all-round regional cooperation can be effected with the aim of developing the western section of the Greater Bay Area into an innovation and technology hub and a cradle for talent nurturing. Examples of such collaboration are: founding the Alliance for Technological Innovation and Talent Development in Western Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area together with Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College and Wuyi University; establishing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Marine Science and Technology Innovation Alliance and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Space Science and Technology Alliance with Sun Yat-sen University; forming the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Academician Innovation & Entrepreneurship Alliance with the Federation of Guangdong Academicians, as well as an alliance for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao industry-academia-research innovation with Zhuhai Dahengqin Technology Development Co., Ltd. All of these will contribute to the sustainable development of Macao, as well as the western section and the whole of the Greater Bay Area.

Academic research and technological innovation are highly valued by the university. As a top international university located in the western section of the Greater Bay Area, UM has made solid progress specifically in the field of innovative research over the past year. Through surveys and systematic planning, the university has devised a plan for collaborative development of emerging disciplines and provided strong support to interdisciplinary research and programmes as well as innovation and entrepreneurship. In recent years, the university has also increased its investment in humanities and social sciences. This includes: the formal inauguration of the Cultural Building this year, setting up the Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (IAS) and the Centre for Constitutional Law and Basic Law Studies. These efforts have allowed the university to go from strength to strength in the related disciplines and provided intellectual support to Macao for developing itself into One Centre, One Platform and One Base. In addition to these, the university has also set up a joint key laboratory with the Ministry of Education (MOE) Key Laboratory of Bioinorganic and Synthetic Chemistry of Sun Yat-Sen University, a joint laboratory of brain and cognitive sciences with the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, MOE joint key laboratories and MOE key research centres. Such strategic and diversified complementary collaboration allows all parties to leverage their research and disciplinary advantages, so as to make breakthroughs in research and development of related technologies. This year, the university also laid down a research and development strategy which adopts the problem-oriented approach, deepens cooperation between arts and sciences and focuses on collaborative innovation and knowledge transfer. It also formulated a strategic blueprint with a 3+3+3+3 framework: giving full play to the research and leading role of the three state key laboratories on Chinese medicine, microelectronics and Internet of Things for smart city; promoting research in the three emerging fields of precision medicine, advanced materials and regional oceanology; building interdisciplinary research platforms for the three fields of artificial intelligence, data science, and cognitive and brain sciences; as well as establishing three research platforms in humanities and social sciences, namely the Centre for Macau Studies, the Asia-Pacific Academy of Economics and Management, and the IAS. The university has been facilitating closer collaboration between the platforms and faculties so as to achieve synergy and to integrate teaching and research, as well as arts and sciences. This, it is expected, will define the academic strength of the university, Macao and the nation.

After 38 years of development, with the support from the nation and the SAR government, UM has acquired its unique advantages: its location in a special administrative region, its special mission, special status and unique education model. It also enjoys social recognition and international reputation. As the strongest comprehensive university in the western section of the Greater Bay Area, UM will continue to work in line with development trends of the nation and the globe based on current educational and research outcomes. Combined with the advantages brought about by the development of the Greater Bay Area, I believe UM will have an even larger space and arena for development. UM graduates will enjoy more opportunities and broader horizons. Going forward, the primary task of UM will remain talent nurturing. With the aim to be rooted in Macao, integrate into the Greater Bay Area and reach out to the whole nation and the world, UM will spare no efforts to consolidate its focus and live up to the expectations of the nation and the local community. It will create a larger platform for talent cultivation and research collaboration, actively enhance its international competitiveness and promote the internationalisation of the higher education of Macao.

With this solid foundation and development edge, UM will definitely forge a luminous future, to be enjoyed by all of our alumni. Dear graduates, UM is where you started your journey to success. I am sure you will grasp the opportunities presented to you along the way, create promising futures and become pillars of the society. Last but not least, I wish all the guests good health and happiness in life. Thank you.

Rector’s Speech in Congregation 2019 (25/05/2019)

The honourable Chief Executive of the Macao SAR and Chancellor of the University of Macau, Dr Chui Sai On,

The Chair of the University Council, Dr Lam Kam Seng Peter,

The members of the University Assembly and the University Council,

Distinguished guests, dear alumni, teachers, students and their families,

Good afternoon. Welcome to the 2019 Congregation. Today we are here to witness an important moment in life of more than 1,500 graduates and to celebrate another fruitful year of the university. First of all, on behalf of the University of Macau, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations and best wishes to all our graduates; our utmost gratitude to the staff and parents for their devotion and dedication; and our heartfelt appreciation to the local community for their care and support to the university over the years.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to say a few words to our graduates. When I was your age, my firm belief was that ‘Knowledge changes fate and vision brings success’. This is similar to what some people say, that vision determines the limits of your potentials and achievements. In the course of pursuing my dreams and aspirations, I have studied and worked in different places; I have come to realise how important vision is to one’s personal growth and career development. On this big day, when you are bidding farewell to the university to start a new chapter in life, I wish to share with you some of my thoughts on vision.

First of all, vision requires altitude. When you climb to the peak, you will see huge mountains all looking small under your feet. This is how altitude shapes your vision. In the face of increasingly fierce international competition, global vision is a key yardstick to evaluate the competitiveness of talent both present and future. A large soaring bird commands a panoramic view; a frog in the bottom of the well has no clue about the sea outside. This is a fitting analogy to emphasise that the broader your vision is, the wider your world gets. Human vision also varies depending on one’s perspectives. There is a Chinese saying that mountains take different shapes and sizes when you look at them from different angles; and people with ordinary vision normally cannot see the wood for the trees. That is to say, your vision affects your understanding of the world and governs your reasoning and thoughts. Therefore, your vision directly determines your problem-solving ability and ultimately your competitiveness in society and the world. Your vision decides your fate.

‘To go a storey higher in order to see a thousand miles farther’ is another expression that relates vision with altitude. ‘To stand tall and see far’ and ‘To feel inspired at greater heights’ also express the same idea. One can go up mountains or towers to reach sufficient height, but it is more important to reach new heights on a firm footing that is supported by knowledge and experience. University life enriches our knowledge, but it only raises us to a higher level of foundation. Now that we can stand on a higher ground, we need to learn to broaden our vision in order to achieve greater success.

Our nation is now unprecedentedly close to the centre of the world stage. The metropolises in the mainland and our city Macao are becoming more and more globalised, and are participating in more intense international competitions. Against this backdrop and with this general trend, it is the objective view that we should have global vision and qualities at an international level in order to survive and to develop. In this regard, our university has been striving to create a positive, open, inclusive and diversified environment, as well as an internationalised campus culture for students. To this end, the university provides students with more learning and exchange opportunities both at home and aboard; widens their horizons and exposure; and encourages them to learn and think with a macroscopic and open mind. Students of the University of Macau can now go on exchange and study at more than 150 renowned higher education institutions around the world. These opportunities not only help students improve their language proficiency in a native environment and strengthen their disciplinary knowledge, but also enable them to gain experience through living in a different cultural environment. Many graduates here have gone on exchange programmes, studied or competed abroad in the past four years under the arrangement of the residential colleges, faculties or the Student Affairs Office. Apart from enriching specialised knowledge, students have broadened their outlook by getting to know and understand different cultures worldwide. For example, every year the International Integrated Resort Management programme organises their students to go on exchange and field study in the US. By gaining a better understanding of the latest development in tourism and leisure, students can better align their level of professional capabilities with international standards. As a student in the Department of Portuguese, Ip Chon Chao had the opportunity to enhance his language skills and broaden his experience through an exchange programme at the University of Lisbon. After graduating in 2009, he secured an interpreting and administrative job at a steel plant in Angola, involving himself in the development of a platform for cooperation in business services between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries. Four years later, he founded his own company in Angola with friends. In addition, the projects of three teams from the University of Macau, namely Silk Road Macau, Nan Jia Zhi Zao and Team Whee competed against hundreds of other projects in the final round of the 2018 China College Students’ Entrepreneurship Competition; the teams were victorious and brought home two silver and one bronze medals. Furthermore, students are encouraged to participate in poverty relief through education at Congjiang County, Guizhou Province in mainland China. The saying ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’ can be used to describe the experience of our students; they are able to use their power to help the people in need and contribute to national development.

Dear students, ‘Our life has a limit, but knowledge has none’. This old saying echoes what we often talk about, ‘It’s never too old to learn’. We live in an ever-changing world where change is the only constant. As you travel along your path in life, you will find that you are sailing against the current – either you keep forging ahead or you keep falling behind. Only by constantly learning and scaling new heights can we enrich our knowledge and refine our senses. Only by constantly broadening our horizons can we avoid complacency in life or acquiring a tunnel vision. Only by doing so can we be well-positioned to prevail in fierce competitions. The Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is an important strategy for national development in the new era. It was officially issued three months ago, signifying that the bay area development is now in full swing. It is a discernible trend that Macao will integrate itself into the Greater Bay Area and the overall development of the nation. Many opportunities will be available as a result of this important development, including those for our young graduates to show their capabilities.

Dear students, there will be a time for you to ride the wind and cleave the waves; you will set sail to touch the clouds and cross the deep blue sea. As the ocean is boundless for fishes to leap, the sky has no limit for birds to fly. You are in your prime, therefore, aim high and dream big. You should care about the destiny of your nation, and weave your dreams into the development of your country. I hope that you can seize the opportunities presented to you, and continue to climb higher and look farther. Your knowledge will enable you to stand taller, your far-reaching horizons will expand your vision, and your broad state of mind will empower you to create a bright future. I wish that you can spread your wings and soar high like an eagle.

Last but not least, my heartfelt congratulations to the new cohort of graduates once again! I wish all of you the best of luck in your future endeavours, and my best wishes to all the guests here.

Rector’s Speech in the Ceremony for the Conferment of Honorary and Higher Degrees 2018 ( 01/12/2018)

The Honourable Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR, Dr Alexis Tam Chon Weng, representing the Chief Executive and Chancellor of the University of Macau,
The Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Peter Lam Kam Seng,
The Honourable Chair of the Honorary Degrees and Titles Committee of the University Council, Mr Lei Pui Lam,
The members of the University Assembly and the University Council,
Distinguished guests, colleagues and students,

Good afternoon. Welcome to the 2018 Ceremony for the Conferment of Honorary and Higher Degrees.

Today is a day of celebration and joy as we are here to witness the beginning of a new journey of another cohort of higher degrees graduates. On behalf of all members of the university, I extend my heartiest congratulations to all the graduates. In addition, I would like to express my gratitude to the teachers who dedicated themselves to guiding you as well as families and friends who supported you during the course of your study. My special thanks go to the local community and the Macao SAR government for their unremitting support to the development of our university. We nurture students par excellence and continue to do our best in our work: that is how we give back to society.

The University of Macau will be conferring honorary doctorates upon five luminaries: Prof Wang Anyi, Dr Aaron J. Ciechanover, Prof Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, Dr Anthony Lau Siu Wing, and Mr Lao Ngai Leong, in recognition of the significant accomplishments they made in their respective fields. Their profound insights and expertise are what make them so inspirational and admirable to others. On this day of celebration, we are very honoured to have with us three of the above distinguished individuals: the Doctor of Education honoris causa — Professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, a renowned educationalist and gastroenterology specialist who strives to lead by example; the Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa — Dr Anthony Lau Siu Wing, a leading figure in the sector of air cargo and logistics as well as an exemplary alumni; and the Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa — Mr Lao Ngai Leong, a prominent businessman who is committed to improving social welfare and supporting education and charitable causes. The conferment for Prof Wang Anyi and Dr Aaron J. Ciechanover will be arranged on a separate occasion.

The University of Macau is committed to nurturing talent at all levels. While a university is underpinned by a strong undergraduate education with distinctive features, we also understand that postgraduate education determines the standards of a university. For this reason, we attach great importance to quality education for postgraduates, with particular emphasis on enhancing their innovative thinking and global competitiveness. The research outputs of our postgraduates in different fields have been recognized internationally in recent years. In addition to publishing papers and winning awards in mainland and international conferences, a number of graduates have obtained professional qualifications from international professional bodies. To cite a few examples: a PhD graduate of the Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences ranked top among the projects of Young Elite Scientist Sponsorship Programme, which is a nationally acclaimed event; a master’s graduate of the Faculty of Science and Technology was selected to the list of talented young people in technology and innovation by the MIT Technology Review, which is one of the most authoritative rankings of the kind in the world; a PhD student of the Faculty of Law was granted fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts; a post-doctoral research team of the State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI received the 2017 Takuo Sugano Award for Outstanding Far-East Paper at the 65th IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC); and a PhD student of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities was invited to serve as art consultant and member of the judge panel at an international music festival held in the United Kingdom. Our research teams won more than half of the 2018 Macao science and technology awards.

In the past year, through the relentless efforts of our teachers and students, the university has been making great strides both internally and externally, especially in terms of its global ranking and academic influence. This year, five disciplines are ranked among the top 1% in the Essential Science Indicators (ESI) database; the university is ranked top 400 by the 2019 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings and the fifth for international outlook. While the rankings are certainly not the sole or accurate indicator of university development, it can, to a certain degree, reflect the international influence of a university. After a long period of planning and preparation, various projects have been up and running this year, including: launching the UM Macao Talent Programme; implementing the Regulation of Management of Intellectual Property; offering interdisciplinary degree programmes to integrate different disciplines with data science; focusing on the research and innovation of three new emerging areas, namely precision medicine, advanced materials as well as neuroscience and artificial intelligence; participating in national research projects and promoting the integration of industry, academia and research in the Greater Bay Area through the Zhuhai UM Science & Technology Research Institute; obtaining the approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology this July to establish the third SKL of UM — the State Key Laboratory of Internet of Things for Smart City, just to name a few of them.

The University of Macau has gone from strength to strength with the support of the central government, the Macao SAR government, the local community, and the concerted efforts of all university members. In the meantime, our educational ideals have become clearer. There is an expression reflecting the wisdom and truth of the literary and cultural circles: ‘The pride of a nation is also the pride of the world’. Enlightened by that insight, we believe that the same is true for university education: the pride of Macao may also be the pride of the world. A university should have a dream. The University of Macau is committed to developing itself into a university of excellence. While this is a long process, our priority is to build the University of Macau into an institution that the Macao citizens are proud of — one that serves the community and one that nurtures talents who are patriotic and community-conscious. To embody Macao characteristics, the university should bear the features and needs of Macao in mind in teaching, research, construction and community services. Only through these efforts can a distinctive University of Macau be a contributor to the higher education community of the world.

Looking ahead, the university will make further progress by leveraging its current momentum in teaching, research, technology transfer and international exchange. More efforts will be made to implement President Xi Jinping’s important instructions on nurturing more talents who are patriotic and empathetic towards the Macao community, as well as attaining more scientific and technological achievements. Against the backdrop of the deepening reform and opening-up of China, the university will bring together talents of different professions to carry out cross-disciplinary and multi-area cooperation. New development strategies will be formulated to develop the strengths of the university so as to further its growth, enabling teaching staff and students to gain more benefits from local, national and global development. These measures will help the university gain a solid standing in Macao, integrate into the Greater Bay Area and relate to the nation and beyond.

Dear graduates, our university is blossoming; its academic standing and impact are on the rise. All these attributes are relevant not only to your past and present, but also to your future. Bidding farewell to this familiar campus, you are certainly proud of the achievements of your alma mater. When you choose scenic spots to take photos as a keepsake of your memorable time on campus, do not forget the sculpture of significance that stands in the Lotus Square: the Wall of Wisdom gifted by the Ministry of Education this April. It is not only a landmark of UM, but also a symbol of the university motto (humanity, integrity, propriety, wisdom, sincerity) and our educational ideal for knowledge pursuit and moral nourishment. Hence, I would like to take this campus landmark to remind our graduates of our motto and educational ideals. Please bear Macao and the nation in mind and contribute to their development in your future life journey. In addition to keeping up with your specialization and research areas, also take note of current affairs, broaden your horizons and be open-minded. Exciting opportunities are here and now for young people in view of Macao’s distinctive positioning as ‘One Centre, One Platform, One Base’, the steady progress made for the Greater Bay Area, the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the immense job market and the drive for innovation and entrepreneurship in the mainland. Against such a backdrop, the mobility of high-end talents will be greater than ever as there are burgeoning demands from various sectors. I believe that all these new opportunities could brighten up your career prospects. Not least, I hope that you will find the remarkable success stories of the honorary doctors inspiring and will regard them as your role models to help you shape your own personal and social values and live a fulfilling life. I would like to wish you a bright future and our guests all the very best!

Thank you all!