By Nan Jiang & Dan Giles

The Columbia China Center for Social Policy, a faculty research center within the Columbia School of Social Work, hosted two forums in China to enrich global dialogue around important social policy issues. In Shanghai, nearly 100 local professionals and 71,000 online attendees heard CSSW faculty discuss social welfare in China and the United States. And at the Fudan University School of Social Development and Public Policy, faculty from CSSW and Fudan University hosted an all-day joint workshop with faculty, students, and Chinese students who will join the incoming class at the Columbia School of Social Work.

“Our events in Shanghai and Fudan were an incredible opportunity to connect with our peers in China,” said Dr. Qin Gao, the founding Director of the China Center. “We’re hopeful that the conversations we had here are just the beginning of our work together.”

At both events, Dr. Gao shared her research on China’s targeted anti-poverty initiatives and her vision for the China Center’s role in fostering global collaboration. Interim Dean Irwin Garfinkel presented on child allowance legislation as a policy solution for poverty and inequality in the U.S., and Assistant Professor Jinyu Liu presented on dementia caregiving among Chinese families.

“It was great to meet scholars, professionals, and incoming students in Shanghai,” said Dr. Liu. “There is a desperate need for professional interventions for older adults with physical or cognitive impairments in China. I hope to have more opportunities to work with scholars and professionals in China on developing culturally appropriate social services for older Chinese people and their families.”

In keeping with the China Center’s support for rising social work scholars, CSSW doctoral candidates also presented research. Jack Xiaoning Huang, MSW ’13 presented on international migration and the welfare state; Nan Jiang, MSW ’13 discussed support systems for children and aging parents in the United States; and Yalu Zhang MSW ’14 presented on insurance programs to reduce health-induced poverty in China. Doctoral candidates also shared insight into their experiences at Columbia with students in China, and talked through their questions about studying abroad.

Through a range of interdisciplinary presentations and panels, both events emphasized the benefits of dialogue between social work scholars in China and the United States. Participants including local Columbia alumni and incoming Columbia students contributed to lively discussions about the changing role of social workers in an increasingly global field.

“The China Center is quickly establishing itself as a leading player in interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars in China and the United States,” said Dr. Garfinkel. “The success of these events is a testament to Dr. Gao’s dynamic leadership.”

Through global partnerships, the Columbia China Center pursues a dual mission of research and education on social welfare in China and beyond. Additional support for these events was provided by the Fudan Foreign Expert Fund, the Fudan Foreign Affairs Office, and Columbia Global Centers | Beijing.

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