College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Student Power to Advance Equality for Girls

The Department of Asian and International Studies (AIS) co-organised the “Plan International Youth Conference” on 28 September 2019 together with Plan International Hong Kong. It aims to encourage young people to exchange ideas for social advancement with their peers and foster a sense of global citizenship among younger generations.

It is the fifth year in a row AIS and Plan International Hong Kong have joined hands to provide this platform for students to speak out in support of girls’ right and equality.

Themed “Girls Get Equal”, this year’s conference attracted the participation of near 150 students from AIS and five local secondary schools. To help them prepare full-day conference, training workshops were held on 3 August and 17 August at the City University of Hong Kong. Speakers from the two organisers conducted sharing sessions on girl issues around the world, campaign for social change, desktop research and presentation skills. Facilitators and previous participants were also invited to share their views and experience. 

The full-day event was kicked off by a warm welcome from Dr Linda Y N TJIA, Assistant Professor of AIS, and an opening remarks from Mr Ralph SZETO, a board member of Plan International Hong Kong. The remarks was followed by a keynote speech by Dr Raees Begum BAIG, Assistant Professor of Department of Social Work of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

The core of the event was the presentation session. Students from secondary schools and AIS were divided into groups representing girls living in different developing countries and took turns to explain the difficulties encountered by them. As they went through the slides, the sad but true facts about child trafficking, child marriage, child labour, female genital mutilation, gender-based violence, and education for girls with disabilities were revealed. On the positive side, the students have shown determination to fight against the injustices and made constructive suggestions for improvement. 

Some other AIS students have been assigned the role of discussants to provide inputs from academic perspectives. 

An award presentation ceremony was held towards the end of the conference with team and individual awards presented to recognise outstanding performance. But perhaps the best rewards of all were the insights gained from professionals and academics, and through conducting detailed research and analysis.