2018 Asia Pro Bono Conference - INSPIRE. IMPACT.
In early 2018, I was very honoured to have been invited to join the conference local organising committee (“CLOC”) of the 2018 Asia Pro Bono Conference in Hong Kong. I was appointed Chair of the Communications and Media Sub-Committee as well as a member of the Cultural and Social Sub-Committee. I also had to work closely with the other Chairs and their Sub-Committees to ensure the smooth Conference proceedings.
It was a truly inspiring experience to dedicate this year to bringing a 3-day conference to life. In some ways, it felt like a start up situation with leading professionals at the helm. Although it was time intensive, it was an excellent chance to utilise my network to seek assistance and project manage in different areas, leverage off different skills and to pick up new ones for a cause that I am passionate about, which is to raise awareness about pro bono opportunities.
It was also fun to have played a part in the creative behind the look and feel of the Conference. I worked with our designer on the fan logo, delegate bag and presenter gift, production of videos and print and social media content and Conference merchandise. I also attended a talk by some CLOC members to Hong Kong University students as well as a radio interview.
Although CLOC had appointed an external Conference Organiser to organise the event, CLOC and their sub-committees all had to roll up their sleeves to contribute to making the Conference successful. We also came across various legal, regulatory and commercial and other considerations.
It was a really great opportunity to meet/speak with like-minded people from different parts of the World who shared their pro bono experiences including innovative ways on how to deliver pro bono assistance in different areas of need and issues ranged from refugee statelessness to anti-slavery, gender issues, technology support for the pro bono community, guides to pro bono work in Hong Kong, Asia and globally as well as pro bono for migrant workers and pro bono law clinics and many more topics.
I really enjoyed the whole process as the Conference proceeded smoothly and professionally. What I found very inspiring was how the Conference brought together legal professionals, academia, students and NGOs/Charities and other interested parties from over 30 countries. It was an excellent platform to feel their enthusiasm to learn and network about their causes.
It was also really enjoyable to work with the CLOC members and other volunteers who all demonstrated leadership, entrepreneurship, self-motivation and team collaboration skills. I was very humbled to see everyone bringing something to the table. It was also a pleasure to meet the culturally diverse delegates who attended the Conference.
I personally attended the entire Conference from early morning to evening which included the cultural and social networking events and Closing Drinks at the Asia Society. A diverse range of topics was discussed via plenary and concurrent sessions throughout the three days.
What was also impressive about the Conference was that CLOC and their teams were able to bring together the VIP legal community including Mr Geoffrey Ma (Chief Justice Court of Final Appeal), Ms Teresa Cheng (Secretary of Justice) who delivered keynote speeches at the Opening Ceremony.
I think the entire Conference from the preparation to the event itself was a once in a lifetime experience and all memorable for me due to the quality, variety and depth of the program content, presenters and delegates as well as the fun networking opportunities. The feedback from delegates and presenters was excellent as well.
The aim of the Conference was to Inspire.Impact. I think it did indeed do that for the delegates including myself! I am now finding ways to contribute my skills to help the wider community around us.
I would definitely recommend and encourage others to participate and help out in pro bono activities and events. It’s a truly unparalleled enriching experience.
If you would like to know more about pro bono law or community service initiatives, please do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can connect you with relevant contacts or organisations.
We'd love to hear your stories of participation in pro bono matters and community service, feel free to share in the comments section below your experiences and any challenges you have personally faced.
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