4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning- Call for Award Submissions.

Republished from conference website.

Background of Award

We believe that the urban social challenges are similar around the world, these pressing problems need to be solved immediately, and whenever the traditional model does not satisfy the needs of the society, innovations are demanded.

“Service-Learning” has become a hot topic in recent years. However people tend to focus their discussion on the discipline itself, instead of the more powerful concept behind that leads to ultimate social change – “Social Innovation”. Though a new phenomenon, Service-Learning has undeniably brought great positive impact worldwide.

In order to promote the culture of Service-Learning and enrich people’s knowledge on social issues, and to build a platform to encourage the sharing of ideas and experience among global entities, the Service-Learning Award has been born, hoping to pathway for a sustainable development of social innovation culture.

Service-Learning and Social Change

The connected world calls for all parties to collaborate and work together for a connected future. The need for bilingual and culturally sensitive professionals and service providers urges the universities to prepare graduates with the ability to act in the world and for the world. For example, Lingnan University emphasizes a whole-person approach to education, which enables students to think, judge, care and act responsibly in a continually changing Hong Kong and wider world.

Apart from the development of well-prepared global citizens, students directly apply their Service-Learning knowledge in projects for community development. The unique teaching, unique service and unique learning experience enable the specialization and isolation of Service-Learning knowledge into different disciplines. If invested into, this strategy has the potential to make positive transformations around the world. Service learning has the potential to build and make a difference, as it emphasizes collaboration among stakeholders on different levels of the community.

Three Focus Problems, You Create a Solution

Please pick one of the following social problems, and propose an innovative Service- Learning program within 2000 words in English.

Focus 1: Social Inclusion

Marginal communities, including ethnic minorities, new immigrants, young offenders, mentally challenged, are often overlooked by the general public. Various factors such as low income, racism, discrimination in employment, as well as lack of social support all existing obstacles to the inclusion of these communities in our society.

As the number of immigrants surge, together with the compounding social problems, these marginal communities will continue to grow in size and variety, and it is increasingly challenging, to provide mechanisms for their meaningful participation in the civic, economic and political life of society, yet we cannot rely on the government to do all.

What creative solutions can you come up with to build a more inclusive society?

Focus 2: Ageing

Fast-greying economic regions around the world are going to be confronted with the challenges of noteworthy aging population. Longevity and low birth rate are the main contributing factors of such phenomenon, and the elder dependency ratio in some cities is already above 20%.To combat this inevitable situation, innovative ideas are needed. This includes methods to cope with the pressure on healthcare services and long-term medical care required by elderly; the design of various community facilities and infrastructure; the requirements of tailored-design products and services for the elderly etc.

What innovative ideas can you think of to help our society adapt to an ageing environment?

Focus 3: Poverty

The degree of urbanization and poverty varies across nations but it is clear that income disparity is deteriorating as evident from the high Gini Coefficient.

With the climbing inflation rate, access to basic necessities has become a challenging task for many. The income disparity also leads to a series of problems, including working poor; elderly poor; difficulties for ethnic minorities and marginal youth to find jobs; housing and food problems; and the complications for those suffering from intergenerational poverty to receive quality education.

What can be done to alleviate poverty from bottom up?

Award Details

Requirements & Judging Criteria

• Propose a creative approach to bridge Service-Learning from local to global within 2000 words in English.

• Demonstrate the ability to successfully implement an innovative idea.

• Exemplify originality, viability and sustainability of idea.

• Provide an imaginative and innovative idea or concept.

About the Award

• There will be 3 winners from Hong Kong, and 3 winners from other cities.

• Winners will be invited to join the 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning with free living accommodation and round-trip air ticket to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China.

• Winning and selected ideas will be published on the conference website.

 Submission

Please send your proposal with submission form to oslconf@ln.edu.hk by 31 March 2013.

Application form can be downloaded from http://www.ln.edu.hk/osl/conference2013/SLaward.html

Result will be announced in mid-April, and the winners will be notified individually.