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    OUHK to honour five outstanding personages 08/12/2009

    The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) will confer honorary doctorates upon Mr Thomas Chan Chun-hoo, Mr Chen Zuoer, Dr Chung King-fai, Mr Stanley Ko Kam-chuen and Prof. Zhang Deming in recognition of their achievements and contributions at its Eighteenth Congregation on 17 December 2009.

    Mr Thomas Chan Chun-hoo




    Mr Thomas Chan Chun-hoo (Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa)

    Mr Thomas Chan Chun-hoo is the Chairman and Executive Director of Playmates Holdings Limited. He is a leader in the toys industry and has taken his enterprise beyond its core interest into other realms of business such as real estate. Born in Mainland China, he arrived in Hong Kong in 1962 and founded Playmates Company with his father in 1966 as an original equipment manufacturer of toys. In the 1970s Mr Chan expanded Playmates' global presence by establishing direct trade links with overseas buyers for its patented products and began the process of transforming Playmates into a marketing company competing with the world's largest toy manufacturers. In 1979, when mainland China began the open-door policy, Mr Chan was among the pioneering industrialists to set up factories in the Pearl River Delta region and introduced the technologies and methods of low cost manufacturing to the region which was instrumental to its subsequent explosive economic growth.

    In 1984, Playmates became the first toy company to be listed on the stock exchange in Hong Kong. In 1987 Mr Chan obtained the licence for the then little known 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' and launched its first series of action figure toys in the following year. The phenomenal success of the Turtles franchise propelled Playmates to global recognition. In a 1991 article, Playmates was accredited as the most profitable toy group in the world in 1990 and 1991 by Forbes magazine.

    In the same entrepreneurial spirit, Mr Chan initiated the development of a pioneering market data system capable of tracking and analyzing the sale and inventories of products. His concept, which helps prolong product life cycles and reduce inventory risks, later became the foundation for developing the now industry-wide system operated by Electronic Data Interchange. Mr Chan is also a dedicated supporter of education and charitable causes. For over a decade, he has regularly made donations to sponsor students to study at prestigious universities such as Cambridge, Yale and Princeton and to date, over 50 students have benefited. He has also helped to finance students in Hong Kong and the mainland to complete their education within their own hometowns, and has sponsored the OUHK to develop its Campus Phase II.


    Mr Chen Zuoer (Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa)

    Mr Chen Zuoer is known prominently for his role as one of the key mainland Chinese officials assigned to deal with Hong Kong and Macao affairs. He has worked with the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office for 20 years. As a Chinese representative of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group, he was actively engaged in pre-1997 negotiations over major transitional issues concerning Hong Kong's return to China, such as those relating to the fiscal budget, defense, resident identity and the passport.

    Mr Chen was born in Shanghai and moved to Xiamen with his family when he was ten. After graduating from the College of Foreign Languages of Fujian Normal University, he worked as a teacher, a journalist, an editor and later as director of the Fujian Branch of China News Agency. He took charge of the agency's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan unit in 1987 and joined the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in 1988, first as Deputy Director-General, and later Director-General, Deputy Director and Deputy Director (Minister). He was appointed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress as a member of the Preparatory Committees for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region. Mr Chen was Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office from 1998 until his retirement in 2008. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Vice President of the Committee of Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan Compatriots, as well as a part-time professor at Peking University, Zhejiang University, Xiamen University and Fujian Normal University. He has also written prose and translated children's storybooks.


    Dr Chung King-fai
    Dr Chung King-fai (Doctor of Letters, honoris causa)

    Dr Chung King-fai is a renowned actor, director and educator with profuse and significant contributions to the performing arts scene of Hong Kong. He was the first person to present the Theatre of the Absurd and Broadway musicals to the Hong Kong audience in Cantonese and was instrumental in formalizing Hong Kong's drama education as an academic discipline. Over the years he has directed and performed in over 100 stage productions and has received four awards for best director and eight for best leading actor for performances in theatre and television.

    Dr Chung holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Drama from the Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master's degree in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama. He was a drama lecturer at the former Hong Kong Baptist College in the early 1960s, and trained television artists between 1971 and 1983. He joined the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) as its Founding Dean of Drama in 1983 and held the post until he retired in 2001. Throughout the years, he has served as president or advisor to many theatre arts or public organizations. His current roles include, inter alia, a theatre arts advisor to the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), President of the Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies, and Chairman of the Exploration Theatre. He was presented with the Drama Achievement Award by the HKADC in 2000 and the HKSAR Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2002, and named a World Outstanding Chinese in 2007. He has received an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Armstrong University of California and a HKAPA Honorary Fellowship.


    Mr Stanley Ko Kam-chuen
    Mr Stanley Ko Kam-chuen (Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa)

    Mr Stanley Ko Kam-chuen, an outstanding entrepreneur, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hong Kong, and has completed the Program for Management Development (PMD) at the Harvard Business School. He is the Chairman of Jardine Airport Services Limited and an advisor to the Board of Jardine Matheson Limited. He joined Jardine Matheson as a Resident Executive in the Shipping Agency Division in 1970 and moved up the career ladder within the group thereafter. He became the Director and General Manager of Jardine Shipping Agency (Hong Kong) Limited in 1984, and Chief Executive of the Freight Services Group in 1987. Mr Ko was made a Director of Jardine, Matheson & Company Limited in 1988 and a Director of Jardine Pacific Limited the following year. In 1999, he was appointed as the Chairman of Jardine Matheson (China) Limited.

    Mr Ko has held various positions in public bodies which have included membership on the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Innovation and Technology Fund General Support Programme Vetting Committee, the Advisory Committee on the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals, and the Hong Kong Logistics Development Council. He has also been the Chairman of the Hong Kong Coalition of the Service Industries. He joined the OUHK Council in 1998 and was its Deputy Chairman from 2002 to June 2008, during which he has provided much guidance and support for the university's various developments. Mr Ko is now an independent non-executive director of SW Kingsway Capital Holdings Limited and The Link Management Limited. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1996 and awarded the HKSAR Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2000.


    Prof. Zhang Deming
    Prof. Zhang Deming (Doctor of Letters, honoris causa)

    Shanghai-born Prof. Zhang Deming graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Language and Literature from Fudan University in 1976. After pursuing his studies, he remained at the university to embark on a career in education and, in 1994, became a professor and head of the newly established Shanghai Education Television Station. Six years later, Shanghai Television University, Shanghai Education Television Station, Shanghai Audiovisual Education Studio and Shanghai Television Secondary Specialized School were merged as the Shanghai Distance Education Group, which has been led by Prof. Zhang as President to this present day. He has made enormous contributions to the development of distance education and lifelong learning in China.

    Under Prof. Zhang's leadership, Shanghai Television University has seen a sharp rise in the number of students, allowing it to become the largest tertiary institution in Shanghai. In 2008, the university became the first educational institution in China presented with the prestigious UNESCO King Harmad Prize in recognition of its vast contributions to the application of information and communication technology in education. A year later, it received a first class national teaching achievement award. Taking advantage of the Internet and satellite technologies, Prof. Zhang shares the group’s educational resources with remote rural areas in western parts of China, such as Yunnan, Tibet and Ningxia. In addition, the group has sponsored developing countries and regions to provide their own educators with training for the deployment of information technology in distance education.


    The Eighteenth Congregation of the OUHK will be held in the morning of 17 December (Thursday) at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

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