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The Rui Cunha Foundation presents on Thursday, November 30th at 7:00pm, a conference on “Macau’s First Modern University: Exploring the Early History of the University of East Asia”, inserted in the History and Heritage Public Lectures series, an active partnership between FRC and USJ – University of Saint Joseph, Department of History and Heritage, Macau.

The session will feature guest speaker Priscilla Roberts, Associate Professor at the University of Saint Joseph, Macau, with a PhD in History from the King’s College in Cambridge, United Kingdom, who taught for many years at the University of Hong Kong. Since moving to Macau, she has developed a strong interest in the territory’s history, especially in terms of its global significance. This research led her to look for answers on the origins of academic education in Macau.

The University of East Asia, «Macau’s first modern university and the ancestor of three current local academic institutions (University of Macau, City University of Macau, and Macao Polytechnic University), began operations in 1981. Due to changes of ownership, name, and location, early records are somewhat patchy, especially those relating to its first ten years or so of operations.

From the time it came into existence, the UEA was effectively a joint venture that brought together the interests of Hong Kong-based Chinese businessmen, who wished to meet the unsatisfied demand for higher education in the neighboring territory, around Southeast Asia, and eventually China», according to the USJ note.

«Macau’s Portuguese-run Government, and the resident communities, perceived a university as part of the modernization and development plans for Macau. Portuguese and other sources, many only recently available for research, provide new and enlightening insights into the Portuguese involvement and high hopes for the early university», states the same document.

The Macau Government’s decision to take over the operations of the local university in 1988 – in order to transform it into a model of public education, to meet the needs of qualified workers in Macau in the transition period and the transfer of the territory’s sovereignty –, as well as the long-term impact of this division upon a higher education framein Macau, are some of the topics to be covered in this session.

Priscilla Roberts is a British historian who, throughout her academic career, has researched aspects of international transitions of power and the role of elites in the making of foreign policy in the United States, Britain, and the British dominions, by private individuals or through institutions. She has taught for many years at the University of Hong Kong, having held many grants and fellowships from bodies in Hong Kong, the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and Macau, where she currently resides. She has also extensive published work, with 32 single-authored books, as well as several journal articles and written chapters in co-authored books.

The lecture will be held in English with 1 hour duration.

Admission is free.

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For Macau, Further and Higher!