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HKU and Facebook jointly launched “Tech for Good Initiative” to strengthen public policy research on new technologies

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) announced the launch of the “Tech for Good Initiative” today (September 17), at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony with Facebook Hong Kong. In collaboration with Facebook, Tech for Good Initiative” promises to strengthen institutional innovations with the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data in governance and public policy in a manner that is socially embedded, conducive to sustainability, and compatible with inclusive growth.

Professor Wai-Fung Lam, Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of HKU, and Mr. George Chen, Director of Public Policy for Greater China, Mongolia, and Central Asia of Facebook represented the two parties in signing the MoU. It was witnessed by Professor Paul Yip, Acting Dean of Social Sciences of HKU, and Ms. Jayne Leung, Vice President and Head of Greater China of Facebook.

As part of the“Tech for Good Initiative” framework, HKU and Facebook have co-designed a new course “AI Policy Lab – Opportunities and Challenges in Digital Governance” (POLI8023 / SLGP7104), which will be taught by HKU scholars from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Facebook experts from different fields including Public Policy, Corporate Sustainability, Data Privacy, Automation, Misinformation, Legal and Content Regulations. The course will be open to students of HKU’s Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of International and Public Affairs (MIPA) and Master of Social Sciences in the field of Sustainability Leadership and Governance (MSocSc SLG) programmes.

Besides, HKU will collaborate with Facebook to launch the new “Facebook-HKU Scholarship in Public Policy” to support a number of students and young scholars every year to conduct public policy research projects focussing on AI, AR/VR, ethics, cybersecurity and public policy-related areas. Facebook will also make a donation to HKU as a research grant. “Tech for Good Initative” will be housed at the Centre for Civil Society and Governance, with two co-directors overseeing the initative: Professor Wai-Fung Lam, representing HKU and Mr. George Chen, representing Facebook.

Professor Wai-Fung Lam said: “I’m glad to bring HKU and Facebook together to launch this meaningful initiative, which will be an exciting one where a slew of teaching, research and community outreach activities will follow. HKU students will have the opportunity to enroll in a field trip to Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley and the new Facebook Scholarships in Public Policy will be set up soon, which will benefit many young scholars. We expect the research and community outreach programmes to further build up an enabling ecosystem for the ethical use of AI and Big Data in the attainment of a sustainable society.”

Mr. George Chen added, “The collaboration with HKU complements Facebook’s existing partnerships with other renowned academic institutions internationally. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to bring many leading HKU scholars and Facebook experts together to jointly tackle some emerging challenges in the interplay between technology and policy and I also look forward to some high quality research papers to be published annually through the “Tech for Good Initiative” that will certainly bring policy implications to Hong Kong and beyond.”

Three series of research papers, namely, Tech for Resilience, Tech for Commoning, and Tech for Public Governance will be published for three consective years under the “Tech for Good Initative” framework. As part of the community outreach programme, an action research with a focus on AI in commoning will be launched in 2022. The project will seek to engage keen stakeholders in the civil society as well as members of the wider community. More details will be announced later this year.

To find out more, please visit https://ccsg.hku.hk/tgi-about/.

Please find high-res photos here.

Misinformation Policy Manager, Asia Pacific, Facebook

Jenna is a Product Policy Manager on Facebook’s Misinformation Policy team. She specialises in global health misinformation and misinformation in the Asia-Pacific region, and is based in Singapore.

Product Policy Manager, Inauthentic Behavior, Facebook

Sam Traynor is the Product Policy manager for Inauthentic behavior at Facebook. For almost the last decade he has been working in the integrity space in variety of roles and companies mainly focusing on protecting user voice, the authenticity of conversations, and the integrity of the civic process.

Head of Content Regulation, Asia Pacific, Facebook

Meg Chang is the Content Regulation Policy Lead for Facebook in the APAC region. Prior to this role, she was an Elections Manager and led Facebook’s election integrity efforts across EMEA, including the European Elections, the UK general election, and the Polish parliamentary and presidential elections, among many others. Before Facebook, she was the head of operations and publisher at EUobserver, a Brussels-based EU political and investigative news outlet. She also worked as a management consultant for Global 1000 companies in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. She studied politics and law at the University of Kent in the UK.

Public Policy Research Manager, Data for Good, Facebook

Alex Pompe is a Research Manager on Facebook’s Data for Good team. This team builds privacy-protecting data sets to aid response work for natural disasters and public health crises (here is a recent example from the COVID19 response: https://research.fb.com/blog/2020/06/protecting-privacy-in-facebook-mobility-data-during-the-covid-19-response/). Previously, Alex led the growth team at a startup scaling the company to 35 countries over 3 years. Prior to this he worked on access to information and Internet programs for 6 years at an international NGO called IREX; first in Ukraine, next in Namibia, and then in Washington DC. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching mathematics in Namibia from 2006 to 2008. Alex holds a BS in physics from the University of Illinois, and an MS from the University of Michigan (where he also taught astrophysics.) He has served as a guest lecturer for the University of Maryland’s School of Information.

Public Policy Manager, Hong Kong, Facebook

Head of Privacy and Data Policy, Asia Pacific, Facebook

Raina is the Head of Privacy and Data Policy, Engagement, APAC for Facebook. She is a lawyer by training and is a former regulator, having previously worked at the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data in the position of Assistant Privacy Commissioner (Legal, Policy & Research). Prior to joining the Hong Kong data protection authority, Raina had extensive legal in-house experience and held management positions in both Hong Kong and Shanghai. She served as the Assistant Chief Counsel – Head of Legal at Hong Kong Disneyland and was the Deputy Chief Counsel – Head of Legal at Shanghai Disney Resort during the initial construction stage of the project when she helped set up the legal function at the Shanghai Disney Resort. Raina held a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, The University of Hong Kong

Dr. Chan’s primary research concerns the institutions that shape the consumption and distortion of information in different organizational settings. His current research explores how bureaucrats handle information and the impact of institutions on their choices.

Ongoing projects deal with different aspects of bureaucratic control in authoritarian regimes, such as administrative oversight, juridical intervention, internal reporting, and legislative decision-making.

He holds a PhD Degree in Public Policy from the O’Neill School of Public and Environment Affairs and the Department of Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington.

Deputy Director and Principal Lecturer, Centre for Civil Society and Governance

Dr Winnie Law is the Deputy Director and Principal Lecturer at the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong. She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses on sustainable development, community planning and environmental management. She also works with a team of researchers and conducts policy research, action research and knowledge exchange projects on rural revitalization, social innovation, community engagement and corporate sustainability. Dr Law has been a director of the Conservancy Association since 2005 and has served on a number of HKSAR Government’s advisory committees including Advisory Council for the Environment. At the regional level, Dr Law was commissioned by the EU and UNDP as a planning and social monitoring expert for their city planning and environmental management programmes in Vietnam. Dr Law was one of the invited speakers for the first TedxTongChongSt’s series on Hacking the Future and delivered a talk on Future of Sustainability in 2019.

Director, Centre for Civil Society and Governance

Wai-Fung (Danny) Lam is Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG), and Professor in Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. He finished his undergraduate study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and received a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Indiana University, Bloomington. Professor Lam is an expert in common-pool resource management, institutional policy analysis, public governance, and civil society. His research has focused on the design of efficient institutional arrangements for the governance and management of public resources, a core issue in public administration and sustainable development. Professor Lam has served on the editorial committees of Public Administration Review (PAR), International Review of Administrative Sciences (IRAS), Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (JCPA), Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ), and Asian Politics and Policy (APP), and is co-editor of The Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Administration (APJPA).

Director of Public Policy, Greater China, Mongolia, and Central Asia, Facebook

George Chen joined Facebook in January 2016 as the company’s first-ever policy representative based in Hong Kong, home for Facebook in the Greater China region. Currently as the Public Policy Director for Greater China, Mongolia, and Central Asia, George serves as Facebook’s “ambassador” to engage with the people and governments across the vast and diverse regions.

Prior to Facebook, George has worked in the media sector for about 15 years. George was a 2014 Yale World Fellow and a 2015 fellow of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. George is a doctoral candidate at the University of Hong Kong where he focuses his research on freedom of expression and misinformation.