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Y. K. Pao My Father by Professor Anna Pao Sohmen


Professor Anna Pao Sohmen


Mr Peter Sidorko, University Librarian, HKU

Date :

3 October 2013 (Thursday)

Time :

7:15 - 9:00 pm

Venue :

G/F, Main Library, The University of Hong Kong

Language :





About the Speaker

Mrs Sohmen

Alongside a successful business career, Professor Anna Sohmen has devoted herself to education and the promotion of Chinese culture and the Arts. She helped develop the Chinese International School in Hong Kong in 1982, one of the first schools in Hong Kong to offer a dual language curriculum in Putonghua and English. In 2007, she has established a bi-lingual Chinese School in Shanghai, named after her late father, Sir YK Pao. YK Pao School (YKPS) is a non-profit Year 1-12 school and together with her youngest son, Philip Sohmen, has pioneered in unchartered waters in education in China. Her current and former positions include:


1. Director, World Wide Shipping Limited (the family business, now BW Shipping run by her husband Helmut Sohmen and son Andreas Sohmen Pao)

2. Member of National CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference)

3. Standing committee member of Zhejiang CPPCC and Heilongjiang CPPCC

4. Honorary Chairman, The Chinese Manufacturers Association of Hong Kong

5. Former Trustee, Royal Opera House, UK

6. Chairman, Sino-British Scholarship Scheme


In Hong Kong, she has been involved with public service, including committees in town planning, cutting government red tape, environmental issues in business and development of arts. She has been a trail blazer in conserving heritage buildings, like the 19th Century French church in Hong Kong, founding of an old people’s home in housing estates and liver donation program.


Academically, she studied at Purdue University, University of Chicago, McGill University, London University. She taught at Hong Kong University prior to her move to London. She has been appointed as Honorary President of Harbin Normal University and Ningbo University; Advisory Professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Shanghai Tongji University.


Her contribution to the society has been recognized by the Hong Kong Government and the Chief Executive. Professor Sohmen Pao has been awarded the Silver Bauhinia Award by the Chief Executive, an Honorary Doctorate by Prudue University in the USA, Heilongjiang Provincial Jasmine Award, Mont Blanc International Cultural Award, etc. She also received awards as one of the World Women Entrepreneurs, and Hong Kong Women Entrepreneurs; Distinguished Woman Award and International Ballroom Dance Champion 2006.  



About the Book

YK Pao

Sir Y.K. Pao, rose from modest origins to become, by the mid-1970s, the world's largest private shipowner. His Hong Kong-based company World-Wide Shipping diversified into property, hotels, retail, media, telecommunications, airlines and banking--a hugely influential business empire at a time of rapid regional growth. A philanthropist with extensive international connections, Pao became an unofficial Chinese ambassador at large, forging a strong relationship with the architect of China's reform, Deng Xiaoping, at the dawn of China's economic transformation and during the discussions about Hong Kong's future.


Anna Pao Sohmen was at her father's side during important events and key meetings with leaders around the world. In this affectionate yet unsentimental account, she recounts the pivotal role played by her father at a key historical juncture and the balance he struck between Chinese and British allegiance, between business and politics, and between capitalism and socialism.