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Friday, April 1, 2011

The Growth Of Civil Society In China: Complexity And Contradiction

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Session Description

The world’s largest nation with the second largest economy suffers from social issues confronting many developing nations. While NGOs have had difficulty gaining traction, a growing social consciousness and social sector is emerging with the rise of a new middle class. The Chinese government is starting to see a greater role for citizen participation in addressing social issues. This session provides historical perspectives and explores the challenges and opportunities for social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and other investors in this region.


When | Where

09:00 - 10:30 Friday, April 1

Session leaders

  • Cynthia Dai Speaker
    CEO, Dainamic Consulting, Inc.
    Cynthia Dai is a Silicon Valley strategy consultant and entrepreneur and often serves as an interim executive— most recently as Interim CMO of the Skoll Foundation. An Industry Fellow at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley, she launched and teaches at the Tsinghua-Berkeley Global Technology Entrepreneurship programme in Beijing, China. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Santa Clara University—home of the Global Social Benefit Incubator.
  • Jenny Bowen Speaker
    Founder and CEO, OneSky
    A former screenwriter and independent filmmaker, Jenny Bowen founded Half the Sky (now OneSky for all children) in 1998 in order to give something back to China, her adopted daughters’ home country, and to the many orphaned and abandoned children then languishing behind institutional walls. Under Ms. Bowen's leadership, OneSky has grown into a global NGO whose mission is to bring its successful, scalable models for change to the world's most vulnerable young children. In China, OneSky has transformed the lives of many thousands of marginalized children and helped China re-imagine its entire child welfare system. In 2008, OneSky became one of only a handful of NGOs officially recognized and legally registered by the Chinese government; in 2017, when China instituted strict new regulations government foreign NGOs, OneSky was one of the first twenty organizations to be re-registered. In Vietnam, OneSky has tailored its approach to address the needs of 1.2 million children of migrant factory workers and opened the Da Nang Early Learning Center, which has been designed as a model that can be replicated across the country. In 2016, Ms. Bowen was named the American Chamber of Commerce's Women of Influence Non-Profit Leader of the Year in Hong Kong. In 2008, she received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and was chosen by popular vote to carry the Olympic Torch on Chinese soil. Ms. Bowen has also been honored with the American Chamber of Commerce’s Women of Influence Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Purpose Prize for Intergenerational Innovation among other awards. She serves on China’s National Committee for Orphans and Disabled Children and on the Expert Consultative Committee for Beijing Normal University’s Philanthropy Research Institute. She is the author of the memoir, Wish You Happy Forever: What China’s Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains, published by Harper Collins in 2014.
  • Marie So Speaker
    Co-Founder and CEO, Shokay International Group
    Marie So is the co-founder of Ventures in Development, a non-profit that catalyses creation of social enterprises in the Greater China region. Since 2006, So and her partner have founded two social enterprises: Meixiang yak cheese and Shokay ( So graduated from Harvard Kennedy School’s Masters in Public Administration/International Development programme. She is an Echoing Green Fellow 2008, Asia 21 Young Leader 2008, Asia Society and the World Economic Forum Global Young Leaders 2009.
  • Robin Zhang Speaker
    Founder, Venture Avenue
    Robin Zhang is the founder of Venture Avenue, a social enterprise consultancy committed to China’s social sector. In the last two years, Venture Avenue has completed more than 70 due diligence and strategic planning projects for foundations, grassroots NGOs, social enterprises, and governments. Zhang’s earlier experiences include Strategic Planning Director for Jet Li’s One Foundation and Project Leader with Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Zhang holds an MBA from The University of Chicago, and BS/MS from Tsinghua University.
  • Yvonne Li Speaker
    Founder and CEO, Avantage Ventures
    Yvonne Li is the Founder and CEO of Avantage Ventures. The consultancy and investment advisory aims to drive critical investments into sustainable social ventures in Asia. Currently based in Beijing, Yvonne is a former Hong Kong executive who has worked in various areas of finance including hedge funds, commercial banking and investment banking. She has also worked with diverse charitable groups on promoting rural literacy in China and AIDS awareness. She holds a Bachelor in Business & Marketing, a Masters in Finance, and will also soon embark on an executive MBA at the Cheung Kong Business School. Yvonne started Avantage Ventures to bridge the major funding and information gap that currently exists between social entrepreneurs and investors.