CityU hosts international workshop to explore governance and harmony

Regina Lau

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Local and international experts on governance gathered for a two-day workshop this week to explore how to achieve social harmony in a world experiencing conflict.

Five CityU scholars and 14 from institutions around the world are attending the “Governance for Harmony: Linking Vision” workshop which starts today (9 June). The event has been organized by CityU’s Governance in Asia Research Centre (GARC).

The workshop demonstrates CityU’s increasingly proactive role in promoting academic dialogue among scholars from diverse backgrounds, bringing together scholars from public administration and management, politics, philosophy, history, law, international relations and global studies to address pressing issues in today’s world.

Harmony has become an increasingly important concept and principle in the field of modern governance and international relations, and it is regarded as an integral part of Chinese and East Asian cultures. One of the objectives of this week’s meeting is to study effective ways to achieve and maintain harmony in government without compromising justice, care and trust.

Discussions at the workshop ranged from theoretical considerations to case studies of social harmony and disharmony in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Latin America, Myanmar, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Professor Ian Holliday, Dean of CityU’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHS), said the workshop had been organized in line with the University’s mission to contribute its applied research to society. Professor Holliday also presents the situation in Myanmar during the workshop.

GARC Director Professor Julia Tao said the gathering brought together scholars undertaking theoretical work or empirical studies related to harmony in governance in light of real world challenges of difference, diversity, divisiveness and dissent in the 21st century.

In her paper exploring the possibility of harmony in modern democratic governance, Professor Tao discusses how the Confucian philosophical tradition can contribute to the re-conceptualization of trust for harmony.

Other participating academics from CityU are Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung and Professor Martin Painter of the Department of Public and Social Administration (SA), and Professor Li Chenyang, Visiting Senior Research Fellow with GARC.

In his paper, Professor Cheung examines problems concerning policy making, implementation and collaboration among government departments in Hong Kong. Professor Painter discusses decentralization and grassroots democracy in Vietnam and China. Professor Li looks at the ideal of harmony as a guiding principle for governance.

Professor Bert Rockman, Head of the Department of Political Science at Purdue University, delivered a keynote speech entitled “Open Politics and Disharmony” in which he analyzed the tension between the state and freedom in the context of modern democracy.

Established in 1999, GARC is a research centre under the auspice of CityU’s FHS. It is committed to innovative, cutting-edge research and comparative analysis of issues and dilemmas of governance in Asia.

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