“Applying technology in social philanthropy is like standing on the shoulders of a giant,” described Li Shi-Jie, an expert in digital technology, about the role of digital technology in social work at the fourth round of the Dharma Drum University Philanthropy Forum.
Following a global trend to incorporate digital technology in social work, the prospective Dharma Drum University School of Philanthropy plans to establish a post-graduate Digital Philanthropy program. Focusing on this topic, a fourth round of the Forum was held at National Tsing Hua University International Conference Hall on September 24, hosted by Prof. Wang Bing-Jun of the Department of Information Management at Yuan Ze University. Participants of the dialogue included Prof. Tang Chuan-Yi of Tsing Hua University, Venerable Chang Fa, vice secretary general of Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation, Tsai Shu-Fang, CEO of the Frontier Foundation, and Li Shi-Jie, project manager of the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica.
As Prof. Wang pointed out in the introduction, the School of Philanthropy to be established by Dharma Drum University is going to be a pioneering effort in Taiwan . By incorporating digital technology in social philanthropy, the post-graduate program will contribute greatly to the development of this field of study.
Regarding the applications of digital technology in enhancing social philanthropy, Prof. Tang Chuan-Yi, by taking example of the Tsing Hua University Recording Books Service Center for the Blind, which has been running for more than 20 years, said that it used to be a time consuming and strenuous process to produce cassette-based audio books for the blind. By adopting digital technology and establishing the Internet platform to integrate the resources, the efficiency has been greatly improved. Ms Tsai, CEO of the Frontier Foundation, said that the Internet serves as an important arena for social workers. In addition to providing its Internet platform for use by many other non-profit organizations, the Foundation also helps women, the physically or mentally challenged, and aboriginals learn computer and Internet skills.
An expert in digital philanthropy himself, Li Shi-Jie pointed out that digital philanthropy has gone beyond conventional imagination and operation. By linking and integrating information through the platform of the Internet, it can exert a strong influence on issues such as human rights and communication rights. Even fundraising, considered the easiest task in terms of technology, can be handled using digital tech. In addition, the technique research and development, collaboration, and future prospects involved in digital philanthropy, as well as their derived added values, are something of considerable significance.
Despite the purposes and the added values of digital philanthropy, Venerable Chang Fa stressed that the key to social philanthropy lies in a caring heart of every individual. Only with a sincerely caring heart in applying technology in social philanthropy can we make a full play of technology and humanities complementing each other.
(Xu Hui-Juan reporting in Xinzhu)
2008.09.24 September 24, 2008 The 4th round of Dharma Drum University Philanthropy Forum