Robert Hung-ngai HO
2007 Honorary Doctorate
The clouds fill the water-cups of the river, hiding themselves in the distant hills - Rabindranath Tagore
A lover of the arts, Mr Robert Hung-ngai Ho is however not known as an art collector. He has donated hundreds of millions of dollars for the development of the arts, culture and education in Hong Kong and the Mainland, but his philanthropic acts were never accompanied by fanfare and trumpets. On the contrary, Mr Ho has always taken things in his gallant stride, placing substance above form, and discretion above publicity.
Born into Hong Kong’s most distinguished family in 1932, Mr Ho took his Master of Science degree in Journalism at Columbia University and became a leading figure in various associations of the journalistic trade in Hong Kong and the United States.
Convinced that the arts are important for the development of the individual and society, Mr Ho founded the Robert H N Ho Family Foundation in 2005, to fund activities that promote Chinese arts and culture. And the activities the Foundation has funded have been both diverse and imaginative. It co-operated with Mr Pai Hsien-yung on a project on Kunqu, worked with Mr Lin Hwai-min on a training programme for young dancers of promise, brought together the British Museum and the Palace Museum to organise a spectacular exhibition in Beijing, founded a scholarship for students of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and created internships for young musicians at the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. For the past two years, the Foundation has been working on the Through Our Eyes project, which is designed to encourage young people in Hong Kong to express their perceptions of their surroundings through photography.
Mr Ho, who follows the Buddhist faith, also devotes considerable time to matters of the spirit, and helping other people understand Buddhism and Buddhist teachings is one of his life-long pursuits. With this in mind, Mr Ho has made ground-breaking donations to various universities worldwide for the setting up of centres of Buddhist studies. Mr Ho is a visionary but self-effacing person, putting his cause above his own self and always looking for ways to help people and society improve. His care for our future generations is demonstrated through his support for the education of the young. And yet personal fame or recognition has no place among Mr Ho’s life objectives. He has stayed true to the teaching of his grandfather Sir Robert Ho Tung who believed that whoever takes from society takes with it the obligation to pay it forward.