A plea to help the world's poorest

Dato Lee Yee Cheong AO.

Dato Lee Yee Cheong AO.
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Monday, 23 April 2007

Illustrious Malaysian academician Dato Lee Yee Cheong AO urged graduates to use their education to benefit the world's poorest countries, in a keynote address to the University of Adelaide's offshore graduation ceremony at the Hotel Nikko, Kuala Lumpur, on Sunday.

Dato Lee, a world-respected figure in the engineering profession, is an ardent advocate of using knowledge to help reduce poverty and create wealth. He worked with Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Special Representative of the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, on the UN Millennium Project 2002-2005 to help developing countries achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals.

"As university graduates in Malaysia you are among the rich one billion of the most fortunate people in this world of six billion people. Five billion others on earth are hungry, diseased, illiterate and subject to civil strife and natural disasters.

"Those of us lucky enough to have a university education must play a part in helping impoverished countries like those in Africa to move forward," he told the graduates.

Dato Lee, an advisor to the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia, Dato Seri Dr. Jamaludin Jarjis, enjoys a global reputation in the engineering and science community.

The 69-year-old scholar is currently an Energy Commissioner of Malaysia and a past President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (2003-2005) - the first Asian to be elected to this role, representing some 15 million professional and graduate engineers worldwide. He is a Senior Fellow and founding Secretary General of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia and a Foreign Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

A Colombo Plan scholar who graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1961 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree in Electrical Engineering, Dato Lee has played a key role in strengthening the relationship between Australia and Malaysia in recent years.

His efforts in establishing the biennial Australian Universities International Alumni Convention and the Malaysian Australia Alumni Council earned him an Honorary Officer (AO) in the Order of Australia in 1998 - the first to be awarded to a Malaysian.

In 1996 he was also presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Adelaide.

Dato Lee told graduates his university degree at Adelaide had been the cornerstone of his professional success. "The University of Adelaide is one of the finest in the world and you are now well equipped to be key players in shaping the world."


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