Dear Friends of the United Board,
The political turmoil that has roiled Hong Kong for the past five months has been extensively covered in the local and international news media. Many of you know that the United Board has long maintained an office and a staff of 10 colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, one of the sites of recent violent clashes between police and protesters. We thank you sincerely for the concern that you have expressed for the safety and well-being of our valued colleagues.
Our office has been closed upon recommendation of the university since November 11, and our staff who live on campus moved to safe locations off campus late last week when further clashes at the university were anticipated. Thankfully, the campus has remained peaceful, allowing the university to complete an extensive clean-up of the campus. In the two weeks that the university has been closed, our Hong Kong colleagues have continued to work electronically from home to the extent possible. We now expect to be able to return to our office and resume normal operations during the week of November 25.
Throughout this ordeal, we have received extensive support from friends and colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, especially Chung Chi College, for which we are very grateful. We have also been tremendously fortunate to have two very capable and level-headed leaders, Ricky Cheng and Wai Ching Wong, in charge of our office in Hong Kong, and a team of talented, committed, hard-working colleagues. I have been deeply moved by how our Hong Kong colleagues have managed to keep up their strength and spirits, and how they continue to find ways to express their dedication to fulfilling the United Board’s commitment to whole person education.
As you can imagine, the difficult situation in Hong Kong has made this a stressful time for our organization, especially for our colleagues in Hong Kong, who are living through a time of great disruption and uncertainty. Sadly, it does not appear at this time that progress is being made in bridging the wide divide between the government and those protesting against it. We hope and pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and good will on all sides.
As we approach Thanksgiving in the United States, we are mindful of the many blessings we have received and the importance of seeking ways, big and small, to share our blessings with others. This spirit is central to the work of the United Board and our many friends and partners in colleges and universities throughout Asia. We remain deeply grateful for your generous support and enduring friendship at this time and throughout the year.
Nancy E. Chapman
November 22, 2019