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The Ladder

A Blog from New America's Asset Building Program

Experts Converge on Beijing to Discuss Lifelong Asset Building

Published:  January 28, 2013
Publication Image
From left: ZOU Li and Michael Sherraden of Washington University in St. Louis; WANG Sibin of Peking University; KU Hok Bun of Hong Kong Polytechnic University; and DENG Suo of Peking University. Image Credit: Center for Social Development

By Katie Stalter, Center for Social Development

This was originally posted on The Center for Social Development's site.

The conference garnered extensive media coverage in China, including articles in high-profile news outlets such as China Youth Daily, Sina News, China Daily, ifeng.com and NetEase (163.com). Peking University News wrote an extended story, and China Social Sciences published a long story about the conference on its front page. The media coverage has helped spread news of this topic to wider audiences, expanding the conversation about asset-building innovations.

LIU Zheng, general director of the Department of Social Work in the Ministry of Civil Affairs, articulated the significance of this conference for the people of China, saying, “Asset building policies and programs will bring great benefits to our citizens, and this gathering will only help in moving our work forward.”

Five Washington University McDonnell International Scholars Academy institutions were represented at this conference: Peking University, Fudan University, National Taiwan University, University of Hong Kong and National University of Singapore. In addition, two McDonnell Scholars wrote papers for the conference. Wimonmat Srichamroen, who received her master of social work degree in 2011 from Washington University’s Brown School, spoke about a child savings program she has helped to implement in Thailand. JIN Minchao is currently working toward his PhD in social work at the Brown School. His joint paper with Professor ZHAO Deyu of Fudan University, “Social policy innovations on land use in rural China: An asset-based analysis,” was presented during the conference. 

Co-organizers of the conference were Peking University, Department of Sociology; National University of Singapore, Centre for Social Development (Asia); and China Association for Social Work Education. The conference was supported by the Levi Strauss Foundation, Keswick Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Washington University in St. Louis, McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

“Washington University in St. Louis is proud to partner with Peking University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, National University of Singapore, and others in organizing this conference. With aging populations in many countries, building assets over the life course will be fundamental for both economic development and security in old age,” said James Wertsch, vice chancellor for international relations and director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Before the conference ended, discussion was already taking place about next steps to increase asset building capability in Asia. Publications relating to this conference will include a Chinese book published by Peking University Press, as well as an English book and a special issue of the “Chinese Journal of Social Work,” published by Taylor & Francis in the United Kingdom.

Michael Sherraden, Center for Social Development director and Youngdahl professor of social development at the Brown School, noted that several countries in Asia have created innovative policies and programs that build assets for family and community development. “All of this experience can inform innovations in the United States and elsewhere. It seems likely that universal and progressive asset-based policies will play a larger role in many countries in the years ahead.”

View photos from the conference here.


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