Chris Patten

European Commissioner and Former Governor of Hong Kong

Chris Patten speaker, keynote speech
English

Since September 1999, The Rt Hon Christopher Patten has been a member of the European Commission and External Relations. He is probably best known as the last Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Hong Kong.

Using the lessons learned in Hong Kong, Chris Patten draws upon his experiences to inspire audiences and to explain the skills of strong leadership.

He made the headlines in 1992 with his first official speech as Governor, paving the road for the future of the people of Hong Kong. The last five years of British rule in Hong Kong were the most difficult task of any Hong Kong Governor. He had to deal with dogmatic and rigid government officials of China on the one hand and the call for freedom from the people of Hong Kong on the other. The challenge was to preserve the prosperity of Hong Kong and the liberties of its people.

Chris Patten received great media attention on 30th June 1997, when he officially handed Hong Kong back to China. The aim was the survival of Hong Kong as a free trade flagship for China. The considerably smooth transition with China has been one of his greatest personal triumphs.

After his return Chris Patten became Chairman of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland following the Good Friday Peace Agreement (1998-1999). Since 1999 he has been the Chancellor of Newcastle University and since March 2003 he has also been the Chancellor of Oxford University. He is an Hon. Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.

He is a highly valued member of the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom. An excellent communicator he was generally credited with the re-election of John Major as Prime Minister in 1992, when he was the Conservative Party Chairman.