Established in December 2002, the Centre for Civil Society and Governance (“the Centre”) was the first research centre in Hong Kong dedicated to enhancing our knowledge of civil society—its nature, constituents, dynamics, roles (in particular its contribution toward governance)—and to contributing to the attainment of a sustainable society through forging community-based, innovative solutions to inform policy deliberation and collective action.
To study the characteristics and functions of civil society;
To facilitate collaboration and collective actions to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at the local, regional and international levels;
To gain a good understanding of various types of civil society organizations, especially those which can foster a sustainable society;
To develop practical measures that can strengthen civil society and enhance its impact as an agent for attaining a sustainable society; and
To foster dialogues and partnerships between the university, government, corporates, and the social sector.
The work of the Centre is grounded upon an appreciation of, and a commitment to, a knowledge-based approach to collaborating and engaging with the community in pursuit of a sustainable future for all. Through our impact projects, we develop and experiment policy actions and solutions to cope with policy challenges and to induce systemic changes leading to sustainable development. The key research areas of the Centre are:
To foster cross-sector collaboration and advocate community empowerment through proactive engagement as a key solution to the complex policy challenges. An integrated and collaborative approach allows society to draw upon knowledge, methods, and perspectives from all quarters of society to proactively organise collective actions at different levels and scales to manage complex social problems.
Social Entrepreneurship for Sustainability
To adopt a community-based and commoning approach as a major component in the toolkit for social entrepreneurship, and to advocate effective management and equitable access to shared resources.
To help develop an enabling environment for philanthropic activities, covering both the legal dimension as well as models of self-governance for civic and associative activities.
Corporate Social Responsibility
To promote the awareness of corporate social responsibility among university students and business firms in Hong Kong and elsewhere.
Community Action and Development
To promote and nurture self-governing activities in local communities for attaining a sustainable society.
Collaboration is one of the keys for unlocking sustainability. The Centre for Civil Society and Governance adopts a collaborative approach in our teaching and research projects with an aim to producing shared knowledge and joint actions to a common vision. We proactively engage partners from public, private and nonprofit sectors. To name a few, these include HSBC, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Council for Sustainable Development, Countryside Conservation Office of HKSAR Government, Ashoka, St. James’ Settlement, The Conservancy Association, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service, etc.