CityU organizes international conference to promote community development

Jenny Kwan

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under the theme "Partnership for People-centred Development: Challenges & Responses in a Globalising World" held its opening ceremony at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) on 25 June. At the four-day conference, from 24 June to 27 June, scholars and community workers from all over the world presented work plans and research achievements, and proposed new concepts and suggested new policies.

The conference was co-organized by the Department of Applied Social Studies of CityU, the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. Sponsored by the Home Affairs Bureau of the HKSAR Government, it was one of the key events of the 10th anniversary celebrations of HKSAR.

The IACD Conference is a well-recognized international forum for the promotion of community development practices, research and policy analysis. Since 1999, it has been organized biennially in the UK, New Zealand, the US and Cameroon.

The Hong Kong conference aimed to provide an international platform for community workers, academics and researchers, policy makers and administrators, and individuals and organizations that support and promote the concept of community development. Through the conference, participants could exchange their experience, establish personal and organizational networks, share views and beliefs on community development, and join hands to promote their concepts and practices of community development in Asia and other regions.

Officiating guests at the opening ceremony included Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Permanent Secretary, Home Affairs Bureau, HKSAR Government; Mr Zhan Chengfu, Director-General, Department of Basic-level Governance and Community Development, Ministry of Civil Affairs, People's Republic of China; Professor Gary Craig, President of the IACD; Ms Christine Fang Meng-sang, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service; Professor Joe Leung Cho-bun, Head of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, HKU; and Professor Richard Ho Yan-ki, Acting President, CityU.

Professor Ho said in his welcoming address, "Sociologists and community workers are the Early Warning Signal System (EWSS) of a government, which means they will always try to resolve looming social issues before they become explosive."

He added that sociologists and community workers are the fingers on the pulse of society. They are vital partners of a government and they play a crucial role in maintaining the economic efficiency and harmony of a society.

Mrs Lam said the Home Affairs Bureau coordinates the 10th anniversary celebration events for the HKSAR. Apart from organizing a series of

celebration events, we should take this golden opportunity to review how "One Country, Two Systems" has operated in the last decade. Also, we should look ahead at the direction of future development.

Mrs Lam and Professor Ho expressed their gratitude to the over 10 non-government organizations and tertiary education institutes which helped organize the conference.

Organizations participating as associate organizers of the conference included Caritas Hong Kong, Christian Family Service Centre, HKSKH Lady MacLehose Centre, St. James' Settlement, Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service, Macau Polytechnic Institute, Hong Kong College of Technology, the Department of Social Work of Hong Kong Shue Yan University, Aberdeen Kai-fong Welfare Association, the Neigbourhood Advice-Action Council, Society for Community Organization, and Institute of Social Service Development.

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