Thomas S.T. Chan, CEO of World Vision China, was conferred the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa by the University of Hong Kong (HKU), in recognition of his contributions in caring for and providing relief for the most vulnerable in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
On April 24, Dr. The Honourable David K.P. Li, Pro-Chancellor of The University of Hong Kong conferred the honorary degree upon Dr. Chan on the congregation. Dr. Chan was graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, HKU and received his MBBS. He has once been awarded Commonwealth Medical Fellowships in the United Kingdom and is one of the top neurosurgeons in Hong Kong.
Since Dr. Chan was a student, he has showed deep concern about the plight of the mainlanders and had been taking up voluntary work in China. He was very sympathetic over the children living in remote and impoverished areas as they were often deprived of education opportunities and were even victims of epidemics.
In 1996, he decided to put his medical career on the sidelines but to dedicate himself to the poverty alleviation cause. He then became the Chief Executive Officer of World Vision China.
"This honorary degree manifests Hong Kong people's recognition of World Vision's poverty work, bringing much appreciation and encouragement to our staff," said Dr. Chan when he joined the congregation in his alma mater.
The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong sent World Vision China a congratulatory message on telephone upon Dr. Chan’s congregation, expressing its appreciation for World Vision's poverty alleviation efforts in the Mainland in the past years.
Honorary Degrees are awarded by HKU to individuals in recognition of their distinguished service and commitment to the University, the community, and to academia. They are also conferred to those who have made valuable intellectual, social and cultural contributions to society and the world.
Four outstanding individuals have also received honorary degrees are awarded by HKU, including Professor Lu Yongxiang, the Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, PRC, and the President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Daniel Chee Tsui, professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University and a 1998 Nobel Laureate in Physics, as well as Mr. Rafael Hui Si-yan, the Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR Government.
At present, World Vision is implementing relief and development projects in 17 provinces/ municipalities /autonomous regions across China. Through child-focused area development programs, relief and rehabilitation, education, health, agro-forestry, orphans care, programs for children in especially difficult circumstances, micro-enterprises, urban ministry, training and capacity building, World Vision has been helping the poor become self-reliant and achieve sustainable development in the long run. From 1989 to 2006, funds worth over RMB869.6 million were used in different projects in China.