Convocation Address by Professor C. F. Lee
Delivered at IBC's First Convocation on August 20, 2008
Venerable Wei Wu, Venerable Professor Dhammajoti, Honoured Guests, Distinguished Teachers, Graduates, Students of IBC, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is indeed my great fortune and honour to be able to join you on this very special, very memorable occasion of the First Convocation of the IBC.
As we are all aware, the vision, the exemplary leadership and the unfailing efforts of Venerable Wei Wu, strongly supported by his dedicated team of community leaders, Buddhist scholars and teachers, have brought IBC from concept to fruition. Today, we are extremely happy to see IBC's first harvest --- the first Convocation and graduation of her first batch of graduates.
Buddhism has its origin some 2,500 years ago. However, it is far from being an out-dated religion. It is true that science and technology has greatly enhanced the material well being of mankind. It is also true that we are under increasing pressure in many arenas of our life, despite the great technological advances of modern time. For example, electronic communication has greatly increased our efficiency, but it has also made us work faster, often for longer hours each and every day. As well, the increase in population and manpower, along with the availability of university and professional education, means that there is increasing competition in both the employment market and the business world. There is absolutely no question that Buddhism can help us to live a happier life, amidst all these increasing pressure and competition in life.
Hence, we are seeing a very broad-based interest in Buddhism, for all walks of life, and in different regions of our world. Even our younger generation is looking towards Buddhism for answers to the problems that they encounter in daily life. Thus, nowadays, we are finding more and more students taking courses in Buddhism in many universities worldwide, including such leading institutions as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, and so on.
Seen in this context, we need many more teachers and scholars in Buddhism, to help meet the rising needs of the world for Buddhism; and this is what IBC is all about. So, dear graduates, you have a very important mission ahead of you --- to help build a happier modern world, based on Buddhist principles and practice. In essence, as you leave your classroom in IBC today, the world is your next classroom. Thanks to Venerable Wei Wu and to your teachers, you are now well equipped to help people around the world to live a happier life. May I therefore offer you my heartiest congratulations, on this day of your graduation from the IBC, and also to wish you every success along your future path to wisdom, happiness and fulfillment in life, under the guiding lights of the Buddha.
Thank you all!
Citation of Professor C.F. Lee, the Convocation Addressor
Presented by Professor Kapila Abhayawansa, Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies
Venerable Sir, the Rector:
I am honoured and privileged to present Professor Lee Chack Fan. Professor Lee is an eminent engineer, educator, consultant and contributor in the cause of Buddhism and charity works.
Professor Lee is a Pro-Vice Chancellor and the Director of the School of Professional and Continuing Education and Chair Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong.
Professor Lee graduated from The University of Hong Kong in 1968. He subsequently received his Master's degree from the University of Hong Kong in 1970 and a Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario, Canada in 1972.
In the midst of his many duties and responsibilities including planning, reform and development of The University of Hong Kong, he also heads the University's Steering Committee for China Affairs on teaching research and academic services, and the Committee of Management of the School of Chinese Medicine.
Professor Lee is an internationally renowned expert in geotechnical engineering. He taught at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, before starting a long and successful career with Ontario Hydro in Canada. He worked for Ontario Hydro in Canada for some 20 years on a number of projects including water resource management, hydropower and nuclear power stations. He returned to his alma mater in 1994.
Professor Lee has participated in the design of many massive dams and nuclear power stations, including the Darlington Nuclear Power Station, Bruce Nuclear Power Station, Pickering Nuclear Power Station, Three Gorges Project, Ertan Project, and various others. He has served as a specialist consultant or an advisor to many important and influential international development agencies and funding bodies such as the United Nations Development Plan, the Canadian International Development Agency, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. He has also served as technical advisors to international bodies like IAEA or International Atomic Energy Agency, and in numerous energy and infrastructure projects in many parts of the World and such projects as the Three Gorges Project in China. He has also participated in the feasibility and design reviews of numerous water resources management, hydropower, nuclear power, bridge and other major infrastructure projects in China.
Professor Lee also serves on an array of government and non-government boards and committees. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture, a member of the Culture and Heritage Commission, the Research Grants Council, and the Board of Directors of Cyberport. Professor Lee participates in many voluntary and charity activities. He is the President of the Fu Hui Charity Foundation Limited which has been donating funds towards the building of over 100 primary and secondary schools in rural China, along with hospitals and orphanages. It also supports about 2000 students of universities and teacher training colleges in such areas annually, through scholarships and bursaries. He is also the Chairman of the Board, the Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture; Chairman of the Harbour Front Enhancement Committee; Chairman of the Veterinary Surgeons Board; Chairman of the Council of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust; Director of the Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole and many others.
Professor Lee's eminent achievement in civil engineering has been highly recognized; he was awarded the K Y Lo Medal in 2000 by the Engineering Institute of Canada. He was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Science in 2001; Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2003; and elected an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2004 in recognition of his contributions to the engineering profession. He was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in 2005. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 2006.
In recognition of his service and contributions to the community and advancement of society, He was appointed a Justice of the Peace by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in July 2003.
Of particular importance for the Buddhists, Professor Lee is also a leading academician in Hong Kong and China who is actively devoted to the cause of Buddhism. It was mainly through his encouragement, inspiration and unstinting support that the Centre of Buddhist Studies was founded at The University of Hong Kong in 2002. Under his dedicated and capable guidance as Chairman of the Management Board, the Centre is now able to function successfully and being increasingly recognized and appreciated as an important seat of Buddhist learning both within Hong Kong and internationally. It was also primarily owing to his support and recommendation that a major building of the International Buddhist College was donated by the Tung Lin Kok Yuen, Hong Kong, of which he is presently the Chairman of its Board of Directors.