Stepping out of China: Perspectives on Chinese NGOs

The first Amity forum at the CAGI organized by Amity's representative office

On November 1, the Amity Foundation held its first forum at the Geneva Welcome Center (CAGI). During this event the development of Chinese NGOs and the Chinese third sector was introduced to 22 representatives from 16 different international NGOs, located in Geneva. Amity, one of the most experienced NGOs in China, is also one of the first social organizations to go abroad.

Prof. Jia Xijin, Vice Director of the NGO Research Institute of Tsinghua University, gave a brief introduction and analysis of the development of NGOs in China (since the reforms and opening up) over the last 30 years. She spoke about the rapid growth in the number of NGOs and social organizations in China, with a commentary on the new charity laws and their implications. Dr. Theresa Carino, the former director of the Amity Hong Kong Office, presented her view on the changing roles of NGOs from being service providers to being advocates. She showed how some of the pioneering projects of Amity have helped to change mindsets and attitudes, reducing stigma towards those with disabilities and transforming approaches to poverty alleviation.

Prof. Jia Xijin (left) and Dr. Theresa Carino (right) are sharing perspectives of the development of Chinese NGOs and Amity

Ms. Xie Ying, Senior Executive of International Partnership of the Amity Foundation gave a Chinese perspective on grassroots NGOs and the growing interest in global concerns. She talked about the need for indigenous Chinese NGOs to become more engaged at the international level and to participate in the international discourse on sustainable development. Mr. Cui Wantian and Prof. Christoph Stueckelberger talked about the social role of entrepreneurs in philanthropy in China and globally.

Prof. Christoph Stueckelberger talks about corporate social responsibility of entrepreneurs

The Amity Foundation is a member of ACT Alliance and has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The establishment of an office in Geneva will enable Amity to better fulfill its responsibilities as a consultative body and to promote the voice and participation of a Chinese NGO in the international community on social development. Its presence in Geneva will enable the Amity Foundation to bridge the gap between international debates and discourses with social development work at the local level.