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Discussion: Developing volunteerism in China: challenges and prospects
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14:06, November 05, 2007

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Time: 10:00 am, November 6, 2007
Host: PD Online Forum
Guest Speakers: Ms. Jia Xijin, Deputy Director of NGO Research Centre, School of Public Policy & Management, Tsinghua University, and Mr. John Floretta, the UN Volunteers (UNV) Program Manager in China.

Prospects are looking bright for developing volunteerism in Beijing, and in China as a whole, thanks to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. More than 700,000 people have applied to become volunteers for the Beijing Olympics. Volunteerism seems to have become an increasingly "popular" concept in China.

Jia Xijin, Deputy Director, NGO Research Centre, School of Public Policy & Management, Tsinghua University, makes presentation on the meeting of Develop the Social Economy and Build a Harmonious Society on Oct.31, 2007.

Volunteerism is, as former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan put it, the ultimate expression of what the United Nations is all about. In fact, the United Nations has partnered with China to develop volunteerism in the country.

However, there are different expressions – not necessarily a different understanding – of volunteerism between the United Nations and China. And the situation in China should be taken into consideration to make the efforts fruitful.

In our previous programs, international volunteers, applicants for Beijing Olympics volunteerism and official recruiters of college students as Beijing Olympics volunteers talked about their understanding of volunteerism.

The discussion on Tuesday will focus on the UN-China project on volunteer service, understanding the concept of volunteerism, the status of China's volunteer service, and the way to develop volunteerism in China.

Have you ever been a volunteer or want to be a volunteer? What do you think about volunteerism? Why do you choose to be a volunteer? Or why don't you want to be one? Do you think it is necessary to create a volunteering course for students? If you have any opinions to share (positive or negative) please let us know and leave them on our Forum board. Your participation will enrich and add meaning to our discussion.

Background information:

"At the heart of volunteerism are the ideals of service and solidarity and the belief that together we can make the world better." --- Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General, United Nations

Commitment, Friendship, mutual help, progress
--- Volunteerism in China

A project entitled "Strengthening Volunteerism for Development in China through the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games" was launched on July 25, 2007 in Beijing. The US$1.4-million initiative will enhance the capacity of Olympics volunteers, and in the process demonstrate volunteerism as an effective tool to achieve China's development goals.

The project was signed by the Beijing Olympic Games Volunteer Work Coordination Group Office, the Beijing Committee of the China Communist Youth League, and the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) under the Ministry of the Commerce, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Volunteers Programme (UNV).

Related Links:

International volunteers in China

International volunteers: commitment and challenges

Volunteers, the cornerstone of the Olympic Games

Legacies of the Beijing Olympics

By People's Daily Online

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