Despite the recent global financial crisis, Hong Kong has been increasing its standing as a leading international financial centre, displaying robust signs of recovery and continuing to maintain its standing as one of the world’s freest economies. The government of Hong Kong wants to encourage its civil servants to broaden their horizons and update their knowledge to better tackle global challenges. It has been working with LSE since 2007 in organising a custom programme which allows its officials to experience LSE’s academic and cosmopolitan environment. The seventh annual programme for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Civil Service Bureau (HKSAR) was launched at LSE on 7 October 2013.
The programme brings a group of administrative and departmental officers to LSE for a 10-week long custom course which aligns with LSE’s Michaelmas Term. It incorporates a number of components such as auditing select Masters-level lectures, attending private seminar and workshop streams and having guest talks by academic and external speakers. Participants take advantage of London by visiting government institutions such as the UK Parliament and the Mayor of London’s office to gain hands-on and practical perspectives on how various levels of the UK government operate. Additionally, they are assigned individual and group projects, to encourage applied research and link what they learn and experience at LSE to the situation in Hong Kong.
The programme has developed over the years in terms of its depth, interactivity and richness. Participants from prior years commented that the course was ‘very interactive with a level of personal touch’, ‘professors and guest speakers are all very professional and knowledgeable’, and the programme was ’eye opening and relevant to our work’. Dr Eiko Thielemann, academic course co-director, commented: ‘Every year I am impressed with the HKSAR students who come to LSE. I value their excellent academic credentials, their ability to work as a team, their willingness to challenge themselves when engaging in seminar discussions and their profound sense of curiosity about Europe. Simply put, they are a pleasure to teach.’
‘A chance to take some time from work to broaden one’s horizons, engage in latest debates, make new friends and contacts, and engage in relevant study and research is a valuable opportunity for both young and mid-career government officials,’ said Yury Bikbaev, Director of LSE Custom Programmes. ‘LSE is a perfect destination for this multi-faceted experience, and we are very honoured to have worked with the government of Hong Kong for the past seven years in offering these unique programmes. And we are very pleased to see that our expertise is also sought for Hong Kong-based deliveries.’