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I had only been in Hong Kong for two weeks when I attended the Hinrich Foundation’s Global Trade Leaders (GTL) welcome reception.

Held on September 18 at the Aberdeen Marina Club and attended by the foundation’s team members and university partners, the event was very memorable for me. For the first time in Hong Kong, I was able to meet people, who even with different backgrounds, were all connected by one thing – the Hinrich Foundation.

Hinrich Foundation Founder Merle A. Hinrich with the new scholars (L-R): Zhoushi Long (Cecilia), Vini Damayanti, Yue Wang (Tina).

The event started with a welcome address from Alex Boome, the foundation’s program director. During his speech, he shared that the foundation has many scholars in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia, and that there will be more in the future. He said the scholarship program was established to help scholars achieve academic success, as well as develop the skills that were essential in their careers.

The founder of the Hinrich Foundation, Merle A. Hinrich, was also present at the event. He delivered an inspiring speech, where he underlined the importance of the collaboration between companies and universities in providing students the opportunity to participate in the program. He also talked about the importance of sustainable trade, and how the scholars will later understand how trade is very important for their countries.

Mr. Hinrich delivers an inspiring speech.

The four new scholars (including myself) and Genin, who is also a scholar taking her internship, were very lucky that night. We received our certificates and a book entitled “A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World”, which had a special written message from Mr. Hinrich.

Like a family

Meeting team members, scholars and alumni from the foundation felt like being part of a big family. Even though I only met most of them for the first time, I got along with them quite well. We talked about our backgrounds, our studies and our life in Hong Kong. At the end of every conversation, we would save each other’s number so that we could meet up and talk again in the future.

Vini with Mr. Hinrich and Sandi Fox of Luen Thai.

During dinner, I had the privilege of sitting next to Mr. Hinrich. He told me that after I graduated, working for the foundation would allow me to experience helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia market their products. I told him I couldn’t agree more! We also talked about other things, the most memorable one being about online shopping. I learned that while other people would buy fashion accessories online, he would buy books instead. This made me realize we had many things in common because I also preferred using the web when buying my favorite books. It does not just save me time but also money because online bookstores often offer discounts.

The Hinrich Foundation team members, scholars and alumni with university partners Hong Kong Baptist University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University and corporate partners Carrefour, CML, Global Sources, Knoll and Luen Thai.

At the end of the welcome reception, I felt very grateful to be part of the Hinrich Foundation family. The foundation is an excellent platform to network and to meet the people I will be working with. I believe that this is just the beginning of my journey as a scholar and that there will be more exciting activities that will help us succeed in our chosen careers in the future.

About the author – Vini Damayanti

Vini was awarded the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholarship 2018 to pursue her Master’s Degree in International Journalism Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Her future goal is to Establish a start-up media company that addresses the issues of SMEs.