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Li Ka-shing: Asians should eschew traditional inheritance customs

Family business patriarch and Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-shing, has called on Asians to change the way they view inheritance issues. He is encouraging other regional family heads to transcend the traditional values of passing wealth through lineage as an imperative duty in favour of more charitable and socially-aware philanthropic efforts.

The call comes as one of Li's charitable foundations announced the establishment of a Li Ka-shing Center for Learning and Knowledge at Stanford University in the US. Li (pictured with Stanford University president, Dr John L Hennessy) considers his charitable foundations to be his "third son" and believes that Asia lacks the government tax-relief structures necessary for philanthropic gestures. He has already donated $1.1 billion to various causes and has pledged to donate one-third of his assets to his charitable foundations.

Li says he believes that helping society is a more responsible way of fulfilling his duty towards his children. The purpose of this new centre is to provide a supportive environment for the school's new curriculum and transform how students learn by offering state-of-the-art, interactive, experiential and team-based learning opportunities. It is Li's third major project in support of Stanford, to which he began making contributions in 1980.

"I am pleased to continue our support of Stanford University, particularly with these innovative approaches of combining medical education with multi-dimensional simulation experience," said Li.

"It is wonderful that the Learning and Knowledge Center, being the most technologically advanced teaching and learning centre on the Stanford campus, will bring about an important paradigm shift in medical training that offers cross disciplines support for the developing life-science era." The school hopes to complete the building by the spring of 2010.

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