Student Leadership Conference 2001

Shirley Lam

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Vision, intellect, critical thinking, team building and effective communication are essential skills for leaders in a democratic regime, Ms Fanny Law, Secretary for Education and Manpower, told participants at the opening ceremony of the Student Leadership Conference 2001.

"Furthermore," she added, "leaders of the 21st century must possess an international perspective and be highly adaptable. Leadership cannot be taught; it has to be learned through a continuous process of practice, reflection and internalization."

Between 23 and 25 June, 124 students from eight universities in Hong Kong gathered at CityU for the three-day conference organized to develop their leadership skills, broaden their vision and cu

ltivate their thinking ability. Also officiating at the ceremony were the Hon Eric Li Ka-cheung, Legislative Council member, and CityU President H K Chang.

Through forums, seminars and workshops, participants learned about themselves and the concept of leadership. Successful leaders from various sectors were also invited to share their views and personal experience.

"The conference contained a lot of interactive and dynamic elements," said Franco Lee, a Higher Diploma student in Computer Studies, and also Chairperson of the Student Organizing Committee. "Participants learn through active participation. The experiential learning activities and student presentation projects gave them the chance to apply leadership skills in solving problems and making decisions."

"We also published a conference handbook, Leader 21, in which scholars, successful leaders and university professors share their insight and experience on leadership," said Belle Choi, a Higher Diploma student in Translation and Interpretation, who was also responsible for the publication. "They encouraged us to read more, think more, and be more sensitive to the world around us, which helps broaden our horizons."

In his address to the conference, Professor H K Chang offered a unique and thoughtful description of the qualities necessary for leadership: A leader (lingxiu in Putonghua) is comparable to the collar and sleeve (ling and xiu respectively in Putonghua) of a coat, he said. And just as the collar and sleeve take much wear and tear, a leader bears the burden, hardship and criticism of office.

"We firmly believe that student leadership can only be acquired through real life experience," said Theseus Leung, Senior Counsellor, Student Development Services (SDS).

"We have learnt a lot from the mistakes and experiences in organizing this conference," said Agnes Leung, a Higher Diploma student in Public and Social Administration, who was also responsible for publicity. The conference was first organized in 2000 for CityU students, but was expanded this year to include other local universities. SDS is considering going international next year by inviting mainland and overseas participants.

 

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