Donation of $500 million from HKJC Charities Trust to boost One Health at CityU
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A $500-million donation from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (the Trust) to City University of Hong Kong (CityU) will be used to build a top-notch facility for One Health in Hong Kong. It is the largest single donation received by the University in its 33-year history.
The integrated approach embedded in the One Health concept emphasises multiple disciplines working together to promote the health of humans, animals and the environment. The concept is strongly endorsed by the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the World Organisation for Animal Health. One Health is also a core focus of the interdisciplinary research identified in CityU’s 2015–2020 Strategic Plan.
The Jockey Club One Health Tower will house Hong Kong’s first College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences. The College, to be named The Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, is a strategic initiative of CityU developed in collaboration with Cornell University, our long-term academic partner. The aim is to create a world-class institution that will enhance CityU’s research capabilities, train high-level veterinary professionals, and address critical public health issues under the One Health paradigm.
The officiating guests at a ceremony to mark the donation on 21 November were The Honourable Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR Government; Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Club’s Chief Executive Officer; Mr Herman Hu Shao-ming, Chairman of the CityU Council; and Professor Way Kuo, CityU President.
“The global scientific community has to gear up for the challenges ahead by adopting a more holistic approach in health risk management which can be achieved by further developing the ‘One Health’ concept. The establishment of the One Health Tower is therefore a timely and wise move. The government recognises that expenditure on education is the most meaningful investment for our future and we will continue to give full support to the researchers and students of local universities.” Mr Cheung said.
Dr Ip told the audience that education had been a major focus for the Club. “The Jockey Club One Health Tower is important. Not only because it will provide additional and much-needed space for CityU, but because it will provide a home to the new Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences,” he said. “This College represents an innovation in Hong Kong medicine. Under the banner of ‘One Health’ it brings together veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences in one institution. As such it embodies the important insight that the health of human beings is intimately connected with the health of animals and with the environment in which they co-exist.”
In thanking the Trust for its generous donation, Mr Hu said, “CityU and the Trust share a common mission to improve quality of life and community well-being. The Jockey Club One Health Tower will establish a unique hub whereby CityU can bring together valuable resources and international expertise that will contribute both to the prevention of infectious disease as well as to the sustainable development of Hong Kong and the region.”
Professor Kuo added that the Chief Executive of the HKSAR had expressed concerns in her 2017 Policy Speech about public health challenges presented by antimicrobial resistance and the sustainable development of local farms and fisheries in Hong Kong.
“In response to these local and global challenges, the Trust’s donation to CityU will have a transformational impact on boosting research, education and innovation in veterinary medicine and life sciences at CityU through working with the Government, NGOs and community partners,” the President said.
Cornell University’s Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine, Professor Lorin D. Warnick, who could not join the ceremony, sent his congratulatory message to the Trust, Professor Kuo and CityU.
“Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is looking forward to working with all of you to train generations of veterinary students and scientists to provide these critical services to the people of Hong Kong and mainland China, and to set the standard for excellence in veterinary medicine and One Health science throughout Asia.” Professor Warnick said.
The 12-storey Tower, with a floor area of approximately 16,500 square metres, will add extra space for learning and research, an elegant 1,500 seat-auditorium for international conferences and cultural performances, and an enhanced sports hall for training. The Tower is planned for completion in the last quarter of 2022.