SPHERE #45 2018 22 Actionable change inspired by an unchanging promise propels Mr Li forward. ONWARDS AND UPWARDS! SHANTOU FOREVER Education is as much a matter of character and commitment as facts and figures. For Li Ka-shing, that commitment has meant almost four decades of building an institution that will nurture youth for years to come. EVER FORGET WHERE YOU ARE FROM. Mr Li Ka-shing clearly remembers. As a boy, he left his native Chao’an County (now part of the Chaoshan region, including Chaozhou and Shantou) at a time of war. Made a young man too early, he suffered from tuberculosis and saw the same disease take his father. When others were burning N 22 PHILANTHROPY FOCUS As soon as he had risen beyond the one- room plastics factory at the founding of Cheung Kong Plastics, he started to give back. As early as 1981, Mr Li pledged a donation of HK$300 million to establish Shantou University on a piece of deserted land. Total donations have exceeded HK$10 billion to date. In addition, the Foundation is a long-time supporter of advanced medical education and research at a number of top institutions such as the University of Oxford, Stanford University and the University of Michigan, while strengthening their collaboration with the Shantou University Medical College. More recently, Mr Li also supported the creation of the Guangdong Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, a joint venture between Technion and Shantou University. UNCHANGINGOPROMISE old textbooks for fuel, he saved them from the fire to feed his hunger for knowledge, educating himself at a time when formal education was an impossibility. From the earliest days of his success, he started giving back. The breadth and depth of his philanthropy are wide and deep, but education and medicine have always claimed a special place in his heart – as has his native Chaoshan.