Published: 22:03, May 18, 2024 | Updated: 16:17, May 19, 2024
HK students nurturing the art of diplomacy
By Wu Kunling in Hong Kong
Officials, guests and students pose for a photo during the awards ceremony of the 16th “Hong Kong Cup” diplomatic knowledge competition in Hong Kong on May 18, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

A record of nearly 70,000 students from 263 primary and secondary schools took part in the finals of the 16th “Hong Kong Cup” diplomatic knowledge competition on Saturday, using it as a platform to deepen their knowledge of foreign affairs and understanding of the country.  

This year’s contest, themed “Shouldering the Responsibilities of the Times, Cultivating a Global Mindset”, set two categories - primary and secondary schools. The finalists from primary schools were selected in April through an online question-and-answer session, with Po Leung Kuk Tin Ka Ping Primary School emerging as champions. Secondary schools also held a preliminary round in the same month, with 10 schools advancing to the finals. According to their rankings in the first round, the top five schools qualified for the “Elite Category” while the other five were promoted to the “Pioneer Category”.

After almost three hours of competition, Yan Chai Hospital Wong Wha San Secondary School captured the gold medals in the “Elite Category”, and Fukien Secondary School topped the “Pioneer” section

The finalists from both categories took to the stage on Saturday at Diocesan Girls’ School to a thunderous applause from the audience for their mastery and knowledge of diplomatic protocol and international affairs.

After an hour of competition, Yan Chai Hospital Wong Wha San Secondary School captured the gold medals in the “Elite Category”, and Fukien Secondary School topped the “Pioneer” section. The best stage performance award went to the Diocesan Girls’ School team, which also won the silver medal in the “Elite Category”, together with Shatin Pui Ying College.

In this photo released by the Commissioner’s Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Cui Jianchun, the commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR, delivers a speech during the awards ceremony of the 16th “Hong Kong Cup” diplomatic knowledge competition in Hong Kong on May 18, 2024.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Cui Jianchun, the commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, praised the students’ “high spirits” and “solid diplomatic knowledge”.

Cui Jianchun, the commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR, hopes local youths can leverage their unique strengths to actively present the city’s authentic and positive image to the world

He said Hong Kong youth, who are well-versed in Eastern and Western cultures and with multilingual capabilities, can undoubtedly seize the development opportunities in Hong Kong, as well as the nation, and make important contributions in the future.

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Cui said he has high expectations of Hong Kong youngsters, urging them to proactively demonstrate a commitment to the country, contribute to Hong Kong’s development and communicate with the world.

The commissioner noted that the international community may have misunderstandings and negative perceptions of the country and the HKSAR, but he hopes local youths can leverage their unique strengths to actively present the city’s authentic and positive image to the world.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu delivers a speech during the awards ceremony of the 16th “Hong Kong Cup” diplomatic knowledge competition in Hong Kong on May 18, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, who also attended the ceremony, said Hong Kong is going through economic transformation and every young person must develop a profound understanding of the major developments in China and the world.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu hopes that, with diplomatic knowledge, students can develop new thinking and approaches to solving the problems Hong Kong faces and seeking new paths for the city’s development

He hopes that, with diplomatic knowledge, students can develop new thinking and approaches to solving the problems Hong Kong faces, seeking new paths for the city’s development, promoting its deeper integration with national development, and strengthening their hometown’s global competitiveness amid a changing world landscape.

By equipping themselves with an international perspective and diplomatic acumen, Hong Kong youth can play a pivotal role in steering the city through this critical period of transition, unlocking new opportunities and lifting the SAR’s standing on the world stage.

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Andy You Rong-sheng represented Shatin Pui Ying College in the contest for the second consecutive year. His team secured a silver medal in the “Elite Category”.  

In the finals, he talked about Hong Kong’s advantages in international communication, demonstrating his determination to share the city’s stories with the world.

You described this year’s contest as “extremely fierce”, with the participants displaying greater capabilities, making the event more captivating. He said he has a strong interest in world affairs and often held discussions about global topics with his classmates. He noted there’re many students who share the same interest with him, and that the competition has provided an excellent platform for exchanges among themselves.

Cui Jianchun (front, center left), the commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR, and Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (front, center right), pose for a group photo with award-winning students during the awards ceremony of the 16th “Hong Kong Cup” diplomatic knowledge competition in Hong Kong on May 18, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

Tsoi Hing-fa, a teacher from Fukien Secondary School, said as the country’s economic strength and political influence continue to grow significantly, understanding relevant knowledge and policies, such as the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative, can help students to better comprehend the nation and assist them in choosing their future careers.  

Tsoi said Hong Kong possesses a fertile ground for cultivating diplomatic talents as the city has an advanced environment for obtaining a variety of information. He believes that as long as students have the interest and pay attention to what’s happening around them, they can witness the diplomatic art in international exchanges in Hong Kong.

Lola Luo, who teaches general studies at Po Leung Kuk Tin Ka Ping Primary - the champion in the primary school category - said teachers always lead the students in raising the national flag and singing the national anthem at school ceremonies.

She said she understands the importance of cultivating students’ interest in international affairs from an early age and she had taken her students to observe the secondary school students’ competition. She hopes they will continue to participate in such events in the future.

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Launched in 2007, the competition was jointly organized by the Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR, the Education Bureau and the Better Hong Kong Foundation.

amberwu@chinadailyhk.com