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PhD student wins Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowship

Paul Vinod Khiatani (left), a PhD student in the Department of Applied Social Sciences, received the award presented by Lady Youde.

In the 2016/17 academic year, Paul Vinod KHIATANI, a PhD student in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at City University of Hong Kong(CityU), won the prestigious Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowship (for Research Postgraduate Students). He was the sole recipient of this year’s award.

Paul is studying the link between morality and social and political activism among university students in Hong Kong. Local politicians and community leaders have been unable to articulate clear reasons why the youth of today are actively engaged in sometimes radical student movements. Looking mainly at the younger generation’s social role or identity, the current conversation often neglects the importance of personal identity in understanding their behaviour. Paul’s research aims to steer the conversation towards greater discussion of values, convictions and political imagination.

Findings from his empirical work, based on a mixed-methods research design, help us understand how young people think and make informed decisions about joining student protests, demonstrations and even radical political events.

The quantitative and qualitative data offer very useful insights into how individual and groups make moral decisions. This is of particular interest and value to government policymakers, including the Home Affairs Bureau, Education Bureau, Social Welfare Department, and the Commission on Youth. It can help them explore new ways to involve young people actively, while at the same time reducing the likelihood of more violent behaviour.

Paul is humbled and grateful to the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund for recognising his achievements. He is also very appreciative of the support provided by the Student Development Services at CityU. In addition, his recent achievements would not have been possible without the unwavering support of his principal supervisor, Professor Eric CHUI Wing-hong, and co-supervisor, Dr Elaine AU.

The Fund was established in 1987 in memory of the late Governor Sir Edward YOUDE to encourage and recognise the exemplary accomplishments of outstanding students at senior secondary and tertiary level, as well as working adults in Hong Kong. The Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fellowship (for Research Postgraduate Students) 2016/17 provided a one-off grant of HK$50,000.