This February, Hong Kong enthusiastically welcomed Hadassah International (HI) as Hadassah works to expand its humanitarian, medical, and philanthropic outreach around the world.
A city dominated by high verdant hills, islands, and skyscrapers clustered around the sparking blue waters of the South China Sea, Hong Kong has long been a vibrant center of international commerce. It was the obvious place for Hadassah International to launch its new, pioneering outreach to Asia.
Hadassah International president Robert Dorfman (who has lived in Hong Kong for most of his life), together with Jorge Diener, HI executive director, and Yael Amit, the new HI development director for Asia, were thrilled to connect with the Hong Kong community and engage new audiences, friends, and partners in building bridges towards peace through medicine, the core of Hadassah International’s mission.
Meeting the Hong Kong Jewish Community:
Hadassah International was hosted by the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Women’s Association (JWA) of Hong Kong. Open to the entire Hong Kong community, the event drew an audience of about 40 people representing every sector of the Jewish community for a cocktail reception and a presentation about Hadassah. Many of those attending live and work in Hong Kong but come from countries around the world and represent all branches of Judaism.
The evening was opened by Elizabeth LaCouture, president of the Hong Kong JWA, who was impassioned about what women can achieve to make the world a better place. She extolled the achievements of Hadassah, an organization started by women, that has made a tremendous impact on the world.
Jorge Diener, the featured speaker for the evening, was introduced by Robert Dorfman, who besides his role as president of Hadassah International, has also been an active leader in the Hong Kong Jewish community.
On the first anniversary of the incursion of Russia into Ukraine, Diener spoke about Hadassah’s Genesis prize-winning Humanitarian Medical Mission on Ukraine – Polish border which provided much-needed medical assistance to thousands of Ukrainian refugees (mainly women and children) who had to flee the war after their cities were attacked. The audience was very moved by what Hadassah had done to reach out to the millions of Ukrainian refugees in their hour of need and asked numerous questions.
The special friendship between Israel and Poland was celebrated in Hong Kong at a Diplomatic reception:
Hadassah International executive director Jorge Diener presented the story of the Hadassah Humanitarian Medical Mission at an event hosted by the Israel Consul General in Hong Kong, Amir Lati at his home. It was attended by the Consul General of Poland, Aleksander Dańda, and other important diplomats and leaders from Hong Kong and mainland China.
Consul General Dańda told the audience:
Thank you Executive Director Jorge Diener for being with us to tell the story of this Hadassah mission in Poland. It is especially important to tell this story in Hong Kong on the sad anniversary of Russia’s unprovoked brutal attack initiating full-scale war in Ukraine.
Thank you for all the help that you yourself and your team have given to Ukrainian people and Polish and Ukrainian medics.
„Prawdziwych przyjaciół poznajemy w biedzie.”
“A Friend in need is a Friend indeed.”
The handshake between Israeli, Polish, and Hadassah representatives at this event was a symbol of how governments, organizations, and individuals working together can keep the flag of humanity alive.
Involving the next generation:
Carmel School Association in Hong Kong is a Jewish International School founded in 1991 that caters to students aged 1-18 years old as well as a preschool program. It is the only school of its kind in Asia.
On the 1-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, Mr. Jorge Diener, executive director of Hadassah International, spoke at the Elsa High School (part of the Carmel school) weekly assembly about the humanitarian work he is involved with and shared stories of the conditions Ukrainian refugees are facing.
After Mr. Diener spoke, the principal thanked him for his time and for raising awareness of these issues. She challenged the children to come up with a project to raise money for Hadassah International’s work.
Reaching out to the medical and scientific community:
Amir Lati, Consul General of Israel to Hong Kong, together with Einav Nixon, the Israeli Commercial Attaché and head of the Israeli economic mission to Hong Kong and Macau, arranged for a meeting between Hadassah International representatives and the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (which manages the public health system in Hong Kong).
The chief executive of the Hospital Authority was joined by four senior doctors, and the participants initiated a discussion of possible collaborations and joint research and training between the Hadassah Medical Center and the Hospital Authority.
Hadassah International expresses our gratitude to everyone who facilitated and participated in this first week of Hadassah International’s activities in Asia. – Jorge Diener, executive director of Hadassah International.