The year 2008 was called the "Year of the NGO" and the "Year of the Volunteer" because of the unprecedented response of NGOs and volunteers in responding to the relief and reconstruction effort following the earthquake that shook Sichuan on May 12, 2008. The presentation examines the rapid growth of NGOs or nonprofits, and charitable foundations that focus on social problems such as environmental degradation, gender equality, rural poverty and education, migrant rights and education, child welfare, HIV/AIDS, and community participation. It looks at what nonprofit and charitable/volunteer work means in the Chinese context, and discusses the political, legal and economic challenges that nonprofits and foundations face in China, as well as strategies they use to sustain their work. A few cases of Chinese nonprofits and foundations will be profiled, and suggestions provided about how you can help support this growing and important sector.

Shawn Shieh was an Associate Professor of Political Science at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY until 2007. He is now based in Beijing and currently a visiting scholar in an university in Beijing and teaches classes on Chinese politics and foreign relations. He is co-editor of the book, State and Society Responses to Social Welfare Needs in China: Serving the People (2009). Currently, he is engaged in a research project on the effect of the Sichuan earthquake on Chinese NGOs, and writing a book on social activism in China that profiles founders of prominent NGOs. He is also a commentator on China Radio International.

The talk will be conducted in English.

Venue: China Culture Center, Beijing, China.