Speech by SCED at Make a Difference Forum 2011 cocktail reception (English only)

The following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at Make a Difference (MaD) Forum 2011 pre-opening cocktail reception today (January 21):

Ada (Ms Ada Wong, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the reception this afternoon!

As a prelude to the MaD Forum, which is to commence in a couple of hours' time, I am delighted to host this reception to express our deep gratitude to you all for your support and contribution in making MaD 2011 possible.

MaD is a creative youth event inaugurated last year to provide a distinctive platform to inspire and empower young people to become a force for change. We are pleased to support this event, and with the success of last year's inaugural MaD, it is clear that we have taken the right step to provide our staunch support for the MaD campaign.

I am excited to see that this year's MaD has developed an even more impressive line-up of distinguished speakers and creative programme for our participants. The scale of MaD has expanded to accommodate more local young participants, as well as their counterparts from the Mainland and our neighbours in the region. I am sure all the participants will gain and learn a lot from our speakers and from each other. Indeed, this may well be a life-changing experience for many of them, who may be inspired to really make a difference in their lives to change themselves as well as the world around them.

I am also pleased to know that we will introduce the MaD Awards this year, which aim to recognise outstanding, innovative and compassionate change-makers who have made a sustainable difference in the social, economic, cultural or environmental field. I understand that the Awards have been well received, with over 80 entries received. It must have been a difficult job to select the finalists and award winners, and for this may I say a big "thank you" to the judges for their hard work. As I will be attending the MaD Awards on Sunday to present the prizes, I do look forward to meeting these young change-makers in person.

Of course, MaD would not be possible without the hard work of the organisers, sponsors, supporters, partners, project staff as well as the volunteers. The result of all your efforts, not only for the MaD Forum but also for the series of MaD events held throughout the year, is clear and evident. My heartfelt thanks to you all.

With all our efforts, I am confident that MaD 2011 will be another success, and all participants will have a gainful experience. MaD is now on track to become a signature event promoting youth creativity in the Asia-Pacific region and a brand of Hong Kong's creative events. Let's keep up the good work.

Lastly, I wish you all the very best for a MaD weekend, and for the visitors to Hong Kong, a truly memorable stay here. I hope you can spare some time to look around and enjoy a city that never sleeps!

Thank you.

Friday, January 21, 2011