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Kevin Thompson Appointed Inaugural Master, Diretor do Colégio, Universidade de Macau
Professor Kevin (Kit) Thompson OBE, Officier Arts et des Lettres, FRSE, appointed to be founding Master of a new College on University of Macau’s new island campus.
Professor Kevin (Kit) Thompson has been appointed inaugural Master, Diretor do Colégio, Universidade de Macau of a new College on the island of Hengqin. Professor Thompson’s career has been spent as Director of three progressive colleges, Birmingham Conservatoire, Dartington College, and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Recently, he has been Chairman of one of the Royal Academies, the Royal West of England Academy, of a National Portfolio Theatre company, Pilot Theatre in York, and a Board Director of Arts University Bournemouth.
“I am fortunate enough to be involved in a unique and somewhat audacious project”, Professor Thompson said, “To create on an island leased from China, purportedly the largest collegiate system in Asia, on a campus under the jurisdiction of European, Portuguese-based law”.
The island campus, a 10 billion construction now all but complete, was handed over to UM at midnight on July 20 2013, as officials from Guangdong border control withdrew from the north gate of the campus, a gesture for which there is ‘no recent precedence’, New York Times, 17 July 2013”.
In what seems like a prescient move, UM is also the first Western university-sector institution to relocate its entire campus to China. He said, “ It is being part of the unfolding story of a truly innovative and extraordinary university which attracts me and to serve as Master, sharing ideas with visionary people, fine minds and capable students.
“Macau, like Hong Kong, is a cultural Janus, not only concurrently looking East and West, it is one where the very character of Macau has been influenced by Chinese, Portuguese and Anglophone concepts of a culturally rich life. In this way, non-local and home-grown students have the opportunity to become attuned to our ever increasingly globalised world. Whatever their field of endeavour, Macau people are remarkable in their creativeness. They are making their way in the world at some of the highest levels, John Rocha, Macau-born designer, is just one. Not bad for a resident population (some 500,000) the size of Luxembourg, Malta or the Western Sahara. How we fare as a new College on a new found land will, naturally, be part of an evolving narrative, but the journey we share with colleagues and students looks set to be an exciting one”.
Students and faculty taking up residency on the new campus are free from border or immigration controls, and enter the island campus of Hengqin through UM’s tunnel connecting Macau to the new campus, to unrestricted web access, right-hand drive roads, jurisdiction, currency, police and fire services.
“Through the extraordinary transformation of the infrastructure, Hong Kong to Macau Bridge, and the new Hengqin campus, one grasps the sheer enormity of the Mainland’s commitment to the larger Pearl River Delta. That commitment is of real import”, he said.
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