CityU PhD student represents Hong Kong on an Antarctic expedition

Jenny Kwan

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A PhD student from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) chosen to represent Hong Kong on an Antarctic expedition wants to inspire future generations to be more aware about environmental protection.

Val Chen Zili is among some 50 candidates worldwide selected by 2041, an international environmental organization, taking part in the “Inspire Antarctic Expedition 5 - Leadership on the Edge Program” (IAE-5) in mid February.

“I joined this leadership programme because I wanted to find out more about environmental protection, leadership and teamwork skills so I could motivate others, especially my students,” said Val, who has been working as a lecturer and is good at inspiring students. He ranked second in the teacher evaluations given by students at Jinan University.

Val, who started his PhD programme in the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics at CityU last year, found the IAE-5 application details through the University website.

“I am very impressed by CityU’s vision. It concentrates on academic studies as well as whole-person development,” he said.

‘Just Do It’ is Val’s motto, so when he first saw the information about IAE-5, he grasped the opportunity. One thing that might affect his decision

is that his wife will give birth to their first child around the time he departs. But Val’s wife fully supports his dream to go to the Antarctic. “We are aware of the importance of environmental protection and hope our child can live in a more beautiful world,” Val added.

Teaming up with 50 other enthusiasts from around the world, Val will start his 15-day journey in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. After several days of preparation, he will board the ice-strengthened marine vessel MV Ushuaia and travel south past Cape Horn and across the Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands, just off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

During the voyage, Val will attend workshops on team building and leadership skills, and listen to discussions and debates about key issues facing Antarctica and the rest of the planet. He will also participate in the opening ceremony for “E-Base”, the first Antarctic education centre in Antarctica.

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