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International Symposium on Global Chinese Philanthropy - Transformative Impacts During and After Global Crisis

International Symposium on Global Chinese Philanthropy - Transformative Impacts During and After Global Crisis

The 2023 International Symposium on Global Chinese Philanthropy took place on December 15-16 at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China.

The 2023 International Symposium on Global Chinese Philanthropy (GCP) - Transformative Impacts During and After Global Crisis, co-organized by the Asia Pacific Center (APC) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the Academy of Overseas Chinese Studies at Jinan University (JNU), was held on December 15-16, 2023, at the No. 2 Social Science Building on JNU campus in Guangzhou. This was the first in-person GCP symposium that APC collaborated with its institutional partner JNU since the global pandemic, and was made possible through the support of the Cyrus Tang Foundation and Long Family Foundation.

Aimed at disseminating empirical research findings to advance public awareness and understanding of philanthropic giving and volunteerism by people of Chinese descent in the United States, China, Chinese diaspora, and other parts of the world, this symposium explored critical issues on global Chinese philanthropy and its challenges and impacts, particularly during the COVID-19 global pandemic and in its aftermath.

More than 30 scholars from China, US, Europe, and Southeast Asia gathered at JNU to present their cutting-edge research and engage in interdisciplinary discussions on shifting paradigms, methodologies, empirical findings and best practices, and theoretical and policy implications. The symposium was organized in eight sessions:
  • Opening Session and Keynote Speeches
  • Panel I: Voluntarism, Entrepreneurship, and NGOs in Times of Crisis
  • Panel II: Global Chinese Philanthropy in Comparative Perspective
  • Panel III: Philanthropic Practices of Diasporic Chinese in Southeast Asia and Impacts on Host and Home Societies
  • Panel IV: History and Development of Chinese Diaspora Philanthropy Across the Globe
  • Panel V: Global Chinese Philanthropy: Diasporic Culture and Transnationalism
  • Panel VI: Promoting Voluntarism and Philanthropy
  • Roundtable Discussion on Future Research and Collaboration (Moderated by Min Zhou)

Two keynote speeches, twenty six presentations, and a roundtable panel covered a diverse array of GCP themes on historical, political, economic, social, cultural, religious, and environmental issues with diverse methodological approaches and through a comparative lens. Presenters included senior and junior scholars, rising PhD students, and foundation or nonprofit professionals. View the presentation abstracts (English and Chinese).

2023 International Symposium on Global Chinese Philanthropy, hosted at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China.

Opening Session and Keynote Speeches

The opening session was chaired by Professor Zhenjiang Zhang, Director of the School of International Relations/Institute of Overseas Chinese Studies at Jinan University. Professor Xiaoxin Zhang, Vice-President of Jinan University and Professor Min Zhou, Director of UCLA APC delivered welcoming remarks.

Professor Jiangang Zhu, Nankai University, and Professor Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, UCLA, delivered keynote speeches, offering theoretical, comparative, and practical insights into the fields of Chinese diaspora, philanthropy, and civil society. Professor Zhu delved into the concept of Chinese-ness, highlighting the crucial role philanthropy plays in shaping the transnational and social identity of the Chinese diaspora. He developed a dual-track model of cultural dynamics to elucidate different modes of association and modernization as the driving forces for Chinese philanthropic action. In contrast, Professor Hinojosa-Ojeda's keynote speech provided a compelling comparative study of the Mexican diaspora, focusing on the role of hometown associations. Through the analysis of one of the new initiatives in “Blended-Finance,” he showed how technology could enable philanthropic funds to be combined with international financial support to empower migrant communities and sustain the flow of migrant remittances for development and how philanthropy emerged as a mediating factor for fostering innovative collaborations to empower the diaspora and drive social change. Together, these two keynote speeches deepened our understanding of the intricate relationships between philanthropy, diaspora dynamics, and civil society, setting solid foundations for stimulating discussions throughout the symposium.

2023 International Symposium on Global Chinese Philanthropy, hosted at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China.

Substantive Panels

Panel I, “Voluntarism, Entrepreneurship, and NGOs in Times of Crisis,” chaired by Tianlong You, Yunnan University, showcased timely research that delved into philanthropic practices of the Chinese diaspora during the global pandemic and explored sociocultural factors influencing such practices. Dr. Jinghua Xing, Tsinghua University, examined the self-organization of overseas Chinese in global health governance, paying special attention to the driving forces and unique challenges in this self-organization. She did so by presenting an intriguing case illustrating how virtual platforms and social media shaped spaces of belonging, identity, and organizing for overseas Chinese and enabled them to transcend national borders. Dr. Eric Fong, University of Hong Kong, used a life course approach to examine the relationship between voluntarism before migration and civic engagement after migration in the host country. Graduate student Jingxin Wang, Jinan University, investigated the motivations and cultural characteristics of philanthropy among overseas Chinese. Dr. Xiaorui Huang, Huaqiao University, presented research findings on the relationship between internet usage and life satisfaction from the perspective of voluntary participation.

Panel II, “Global Chinese Philanthropy in Comparative Perspectives,” chaired by Lena Siyue Wang, UCLA, cultivated a robust discussion on comparative philanthropic practices in the Chinese diaspora. Graduate student Yizi Yang and Dr. Xiangyi Li, Sun Yat-sen University, delved into the localization of Chinese charity organizations (Dejiao) in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia). They specifically explore how the dominant ideology and ethnic political space in the host country shape the unique development of these organizations. Dr. Shuo Yang, Shandong Jianzhu University, addressed the urgent goal of safeguarding Chinese charities through public interest charity litigation, which was informed by her comparative analysis of U.S. law and regulations on philanthropy. Lastly, graduate student Zhao Yang, Jinan University, presented a case study of Dejiao organizations in Malaysia, highlighting the significant role of Dejiao in fostering socio-cultural connections and identities for the Chinese diaspora.

Panel III, “Philanthropic Practices of Diasporic Chinese in Southeast Asia and Impacts on Host and Home Societies,” chaired by Jeannie Chen, UCLA, centered on the historical and social dimensions of philanthropic practices within diasporic Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and their impacts on both host and home societies. Mr. Jenn Yuan Lee and Dr. Yee Mun Chin, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), shed light on the enduring legacy of Chinese philanthropy through the founding of UTAR and its transformative influence on higher education in Malaysia. Dr. Baoyun Yang, Peking University, presented research on Thai-Chinese charity. Dr. Beiyu Zhang, Jinan University, highlighted the often-overlooked role of women in philanthropy and volunteerism. Dr. Zhang analyzed the case of Mrs. Constance Goh Kok Kee, an activist and organizer advocating for reproductive health, domestic violence, and women's struggles in post-British Singapore. Dr. Xi Luo, Quanzhou Overseas Chinese History Museum, traced the genealogy of Chinese philanthropy back to the 1935 flood in Fujian to explore how overseas Chinese engage in disaster relief at various levels, from township to county and province.

Panel IV, “History and Development of Chinese Diaspora Philanthropy Across the Globe,” chaired by Zhenjiang Zhang, Jinan University, delved into the rich history and evolving landscape of Chinese diasporic philanthropy across the globe, spanning from Africa to Britain to France, shaped by information and communications technology, that transformed Chinese philanthropic practices beyond borders and national boundaries. Dr. Xiyuan Li, Sun Yat-sen University, took us to West Africa, specifically Cameroon, to examine the intricate relationship between the state, local communities, Chinese businessmen, and their charitable behaviors within the context of emerging African-China relations. Dr. Li Ma, University of the Littoral Côte d'Opale, discussed the historical evolution of Chinese philanthropic activities in France from World War I to the present day, highlighting how these activities have undergone significant shifts in the socio-political context of France. Dr. Sha Zhou, Jinan University, brought forth a discussion on Chinese women’s self-help organizations in post-war Britain (mid-1980s), addressing the gap in the historiography of Chinese migration and diaspora in Britain through the lens of gender. Dr. Qian Zhu, Guangxi University for Nationalities, presented a timely investigation into how Chinese philanthropy adapted and transformed through bidirectional exchanges to create a new mode of transnationalism.

Panel V, “Global Chinese Philanthropy: Diasporic Culture and Transnationalism,” chaired by Dr. Qiang Ren, Zhejiang University, unfolded the evolution of global Chinese philanthropy shaped by cultural, economic, and political/regional conditions. Dr. Liyong Shen, Zhejiang University, focusing on philanthropy in China, introduced a finance model to underscore the dynamic interplay between fundraising practices, Chinese philanthropy, and higher education. Dr. Tianlong You and Yinghou Shao, Yunnan University, shed light on a structural and legal conundrum in the case of stateless workers in the China-Myanmar borderland, showing how social workers and local governments can efficiently support this vulnerable group. Dr. Yao Wu, Shandong Technology and Business University, elucidated how Confucian culture shaped the action strategies and decision-making of businessmen and how virtuous deeds became deeply rooted and manifest in philanthropic values and actions for Chinese merchants. Dr. Yiming Jiang, Jinan University, presented an analysis of the development of overseas Chinese self-initiated ethnic charity based on a conceptual model to untangle the complex interplay between the British colonial government, China, and hierarchical structures within Chinese overseas communities in the 1920s.

Panel VI, “Promoting Voluntarism and Philanthropy,” chaired by Yiping Chen, Jinan University, explored the ways in which government agencies, foundations, and higher education institutions could work together to promote volunteerism and philanthropy. Dr. Qing Miao, Zhejiang University, focused on explaining the notion of the third distribution, a strategic initiative aimed at promoting the common good, particularly for vulnerable populations, and how institutional and national governance systems might be streamlined for more effective policy making and implementation. Xiaodong Liu, representing the Home Love Foundation of America, discussed how successful Chinese immigrants in the U.S. contributed to their home and host societies by addressing social issues. Lastly, Dr. Min Zhou, along with Jeannie Chen and Siyue Lena Wang, UCLA, reported on the training component of the Global Chinese Philanthropy Training and Research Program organized by UCLA Asia Pacific Center. They assessed the training program’s positive impacts and drew lessons through an analysis of training evaluations and feedback and highlighted the ways to empower the younger generation to commit to volunteerism and philanthropy.

Panelists (from left to right): Xiaodong Liu (Home Love Foundation of America), Qing Miao (Zhejiang University), Yiping Chen (Jinan University), Min Zhou (UCLA), Lena Siyue Wang (UCLA), and Jeannie Chen (UCLA)

Roundtable Discussion: The Future of Research and Collaboration in GCP

The symposium concluded with a roundtable discussion, chaired by Dr. Min Zhou. Panelists in this roundtable included the founding members of the Global Chinese Research Network (GCPRN): Dr. Min Zhou, Jeannie Chen, and Lena Wang, UCLA; Dr. Dai Fan and Dr. Yiping Chen, Jinan University, Lucy Jinghua Xing, Tsinghua University; Dr. Qiang Ren, Zhejiang University; Dr. Eric Fong, University of Hong Kong; Dr. Yee Mun Chin ad Jenn Yuan Lee, UTAR. The panelists and other symposium participants engaged in a lively discussion on the future of global Chinese philanthropy and urgent issues for further advance this emerging field. For example, Dr. Fong suggested "The Demography of Philanthropy" as a key theme for the next symposium to explore intergenerational dynamics. Dr. Chin proposed the idea of establishing a think tank for encouraging more collaboration between scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to positively transform philanthropic studies and practices through a historical- comparative and interdisciplinary lens.

Dr. Zhou outlined feasible actions, such as increased collaboration and networking between community scholars and academic researchers. She also emphasized the importance of new data collection and access to existing data. Dr. Chen shifted our attention to more engagement with poor and impoverished communities directly impacted, calling attention to the field trips he organized where students visited schools in these communities and shared inspiring stories of Chinese philanthropists. Dr. Dai gave examples where students from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other similar programs with Huaqiao University interviewed philanthropists and explored immigrants’ philanthropic actions. Dr. Hinojosa-Ojeda emphasized the significant size of the diaspora economy and the importance of hometown associations in maintaining and improving relationships between home and host countries for diasporic communities.

Regarding the agenda on training and engaging youth, Lena Wang and Jeannie Chen highlighted the importance of in-person training with the possibility of doing fieldwork in hard-to-reach and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Lena also suggested pairing students with practitioners in nonprofit organizations or foundations for mentorship and community research opportunities.

Other important points and suggestions raised by participants included: engaging in cross-disciplinary collaboration and curriculum development; furthering training and mentorship opportunities by pairing international and local students and practitioners; integrating community engaged internships and research scholarship; and strengthening evaluations and assessments.

Finally, Dr. Dai and Dr. Zhou concluded with summary remarks on the 2023 international symposium on GCP. Although the scale of the symposium was relatively small, the quality of the papers and presentations was excellent with diverse topics, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies through historical, contemporary, and comparative lenses and from interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives. Dr. Dai and Dr. Zhou encouraged participants to revise and submit their papers for possible inclusion in a special issue of an academic journal or an edited volume to be published by Jinan University Press.

Roundtable Discussion on the Future of Research and Collaboration in Global Chinese Philanthropy at the 2023 International Symposium on GCP, hosted at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China.

Download file:GCP-Symposium-Program-Booklet-o5-rcj.pdf

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Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2024