By Du, Ke-Rou, National Central University – December 27, 2008
The fifth round of Philanthropy Forum initiated by Dharma Drum University Preparatory Office was held at the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research, National Central University, on December 27, 2008, co-organized by the College of Hakka Studies of National Central University, hosted by Prof. Liu An-Chi, director of Dharma Drum University Preparatory Office. Prof Chen Bin of the City University of New York, a scholar on public affairs, was invited to give a keynote speech, in which he analyzed the differences between Shanghai and Los Angeles in terms of community management, from the angle of community management system reform. The forum surrounded on civil society, and invited four leaders serving in non-profit organizations to share their practical experience. Especially, Ms Liang Xiaoyan, chairperson of the Friends of Nature from Beijing, used their organization as an example to illustrate the function of environmental organizations in promoting the formation of public participation mechanism. As Ms Liang pointed out, though China has seen more passion among its public concerning the participation of environmental efforts, difficulties still remain duo to legal issues, such as a lack of institutional guaranty regarding publicizing environmental information, enormous obstacles in environmental appeals and feedback acquisition, administrative dominance in decision making mechanism, a lack of public participation channels. According to Ms Liang, the priority for promoting a public participation mechanism lies in identifying a proper focal point to start with, and then turning it into an event to mobilize the public, as a way to seek mutual support and integral force, so as to foster the comprehensive ability. Mr Hong Deren, chairman of Peitou Culture Foundation, Taipei, shared the results of a group of medical students taking the community participation course, in his speech entitled “Imagination of medical education and community participation. He stressed a ideal blueprint for combining medical education and community care, in the hope of establishing a community-oriented primary health care system, and expecting medical education to engage in sustainable operation in communities. With respect to developing volunteer force, Mr. Qu Qinghao cited two examples to illustrate the positive impact of cultivating volunteers. He spoke of the lifelong learning program the Ministry of Education has been vigorously promoting in the recent years. The program was the fruit of collaboration with various cultural foundations and private sector organizations with the aim of advocating lifelong learning to the general public. Moreover, for four decades Cardinal Tien Cultural Foundation has committed itself to fostering youth volunteers. Its dedicated efforts include workshops to teach youth about the wilderness, creative writing club for youth, and the recently launched program in which aboriginal college students receive training and learn about teamwork to help them foster a good attitude for life. Trainees are encouraged to return to their hometown to render their service to give back to their community, thereby setting an example for the other children in their native tribes. In order to reinforce youth’s sentiments towards humanitarian endeavors, youth are offered the chance to engage in diverse group learning opportunities and social activities.  Ms. Huang Wenchi, director of both the Public Affairs and Resource Development Divisions at United Way of Taiwan shared her experience of a successful collaboration with Citibank in her speech entitled, “United Way of Taiwan’s collaboration with business enterprises.” Ms. Huang gave both valuable and practical suggestions on marketing strategies in fundraising for non-profit organizations. Effective marketing strategies that she pointed out include inviting public figures to be the spokesperson to generate publicity and offering complementary gifts in conjunction with marketing research and analysis on donation behavior. Ms. Huang further stressed that the spirit of altruism should always serve as the backbone in the marketing schemes. Professor Liu An-Chi, director of the University’s Preparatory Office drew on the current situation faced by many seniors needing special care at home to underscore that having heartwarming affection and trust is the most basic and important element in interpersonal relationships and that it should take precedence over technology. Technology and culture should share a close-knit relationship in our community, which is feasible so long as philanthropic organizations focus on creating mutually beneficial exchanges and on reaching out to society through concrete actions to further growth in humanitarian, arts, environmental and philanthropic arenas. This is exactly the role that Dharma Drum University sets out to play, namely to serve as the society’s educational platform to that end.
2008.12.27 Civic Participation in the Era of Globalization