The University of Macau (UM) today (10 June) held the Congregation 2023. Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U, representing the chief executive of Macao SAR and UM chancellor at this year’s ceremony, said that the university has achieved remarkable growth while making continued contributions to the nation and Macao.
Secretary Ao Ieong officiated at the ceremony in the company of UM University Council Chair Peter Lam Kam Seng, UM Rector Yonghua Song, and Vice Rectors Michael Hui, Rui Martins, Ge Wei, Mok Kai Meng, and Xu Jian. Representatives of the University Assembly, University Council, and Senate, as well as government officials, prominent members of the community, UM faculty and staff, and student representatives also witnessed the ceremony. Three live broadcast areas were set up on campus for family members and friends of graduates to watch the ceremony, while those who were unable to attend in person joined the event through the university’s online streaming service.
In her speech, Secretary Ao Ieong said that the SAR government remained strongly committed to the development of higher education. ‘UM has always been a steadfast support for major development strategies of the country and the policy directions of the SAR government. At the same time as making continued contributions to the nation and Macao, UM has also achieved remarkable growth itself.’ She added that to align with the development goals set for Macao by the country, the SAR government has been actively formulating policies and measures to cultivate, retain, and attract talent, with the aim of reserving high-quality individuals of all levels to support the social and economic development of the city. ‘UM needs to further leverage its strengths and features to provide talent support and innovation momentum for the steady implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy in Macao, and to better serve the strategy of reinvigorating China through science and education, the workforce development strategy, and the innovation-driven development strategy. UM should play its part in the realisation of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and advance the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.’
In his speech, Rector Song addressed the graduates: ‘Of the four years of your university lives, you have lived through three of them under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. In these extraordinary times, you have experienced exceptional growth and demonstrated determination, courage, and embodied the spirit and qualities expected of youth of the new era.’ He added that while their world, their times, and history were changing in unprecedented ways, they should have the qualities, courage and determination to navigate stormy seas, cope with changes, embrace opportunities and lead a meaningful life. ‘I therefore have three pieces of advice or wishes for you: First, I hope you will be brave to seek new vistas and never stop learning; Second, I hope you will shoulder the responsibilities of the times and make the most of your youth; Third, I hope you will aim for greater achievements with your country and the world in mind.’
Victoria Lau, representative of students, said in her speech that with the support of the university, she was able to undertake research projects, embark on a journey to exchange at Peking University, and participate extensively in world-class competitions. ‘COVID broke out, but it did not dry our thirst for knowledge. Nightmares invaded our dreams, but each time, we became stronger, braver, and wiser,’ said Lau, who also encouraged her fellow graduates to be brave and pursue their dreams even during the darkest times.
This year, more than 1,700 students of bachelor’s degree programmes, from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Business Administration, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, and Faculty of Science and Technology, received their graduation certificates. Among these students, 126 have completed programmes offered by the Honours College.
In addition, the UM National Flag Team held a flag-raising ceremony at 8:00am on the day of the congregation in the Lotus Square to convey good wishes to all fresh graduates. The ceremony was attended by representatives of graduates from all residential colleges as well as their family members and friends.