From 1993 to early 2001, Anson Chan served as the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong in its waning years as a British colony and the first four years as a Special Administrative Region of China. She became the first woman and the first Chinese to hold the post after 150 years of British predecessors. In her capacity as head of the 190,000-strong civil service, principal advisor to Hong Kong's Chief Executive, and the most senior government official after Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Anson Chan made a significant contribution to stability and continuity in the early years after the handover. Mrs. Chan thus possessed a detailed knowledge of the inner workings of Hong Kong's society and government and an insiders understanding China's interests in Hong Kong as well as the prerequisites for Hong Kong's success in the future.
From 1987 to 1993, she was the Secretary for Economic Services, a key cabinet-level post, in which she oversaw the development of Hong Kong's physical infrastructure, including major port expansion, the construction of a new international airport and its associated road, rail, bridge, housing and commercial components; the liberalization of the telecommunications market, as well as having policy oversight of tourism, energy supply and public utilities.
Mrs. Chan was born in Shanghai in 1940 and moved with her family to Hong Kong in 1948. She graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and English Literature. She holds Honorary Degrees from Hong Kong University, Liverpool University, Tufts University in Massachusetts, the Open University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Sheffield, an Honorary Professorship at Jiao Tong University, Shanghai and an Honorary Fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London.
Mrs. Chan was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1992. In July 1999 she was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the HKSAR's highest honour in recognition of her life-long and dedicated service for the well-being of Hong Kong, and her outstanding contribution to Hong Kong's smooth transition. In September 2002, she was appointed an unofficial Justice of the Peace. She was appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to be an honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George in November, 2002 in recognition of her service in the Hong Kong Government before the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
The Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies is pleased to host The Honorable Mrs. Anson Chan's visit to CMC as a Freeman Foundation Visiting Professor.