China’s big donors are pitching in to deal with the new coronavirus – and not just in their own country

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, left, is funding African entrepreneurs through his foundation.
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

by Charles Sellen, Indiana University and Fabrice Jaumont, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH) – USPC for The Conversation US

Less than a month after China confirmed the emergence of what soon became the new coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba pledged US$144 million in medical supplies for Hubei province and its capital city Wuhan.

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China: Rise of a New Philanthropic Power

Jack Ma speaks at a meeting of the World Economic Forum Foundation in 2015. Jolanda Flubacher/World Economic Forum, CC BY

In response to the ongoing coronavirus emergency, on January 31, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma pledged the equivalent of US$144 million for medical supplies for Wuhan and Hubei as well as $14 million to help develop a vaccine. Just a few months ago, the former teacher had left the reins of a company of more than 100,000 employees, valued $450 billion, stating that he wanted to devote himself to philanthropy in the field of education. The emergence of the coronavirus threat showed his commitment to supporting public-health efforts as well.

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Chine : l’ascension d’une nouvelle grande puissance philanthropique

Jack Ma, l’ex-PDG d’Alibaba lors d’un concert pour marquer le 20e anniversaire du groupe à Hangzhou. L’entrepreneur charismatique se dédie désormais pleinement à des activités philanthropiques. STR / AFP

Fabrice Jaumont, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH) – USPC et Charles Sellen, Indiana University pour The Conversation France

Le milliardaire Jack Ma, fondateur du site d’e-commerce Alibaba, a pris sa retraite des affaires. Cet ancien professeur laisse les rênes d’un groupe de 100 000 employés, valorisé plus de 450 milliards de dollars, et déclare vouloir se consacrer à la philanthropie dans le domaine de l’éducation où sa fondation innove.

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The Boom of Multilingual Education in China

Multilingual education is booming in China, and the sector’s growth prospect for international languages is absolutely stunning. Thanks to Jacqueline Plessis and Wanling Liang, the educational team of the French Embassy in Beijing, I had several interesting exchanges with two Chinese experts on language education whom agreed to be interviewed for my podcast Révolution bilingue:
– Mr. Yu Zhonggen, Professor of English at Tsinghua University whose domain of research is English as a second language;
– Mrs. Zhu Yanhua, Professor in Human Sciences at Beijing Language and Culture University, whose domain of research is the Sino-Tibetan family, and the situation of cross-border languages, particularly the comparison between Chinese and Tibetan.

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Arts Education and the Sun Future Foundation

credit: Sun Future Foundation

As a former school director and education researcher I often think about what we need to teach our children. To me, the 4 C’s that are Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity are essential skills to equip our children with for today’s and even tomorrow’s world too. But we need to go even further than that by teaching our children a fifth C: Compassion.

This point culminated during my recent visit to China to an art education project in a school for migrant workers’ children in one of Beijing’s outer rings, Beijing Shijingshan Cement Factory Elementary School, through a program called “Enlightenment of Love.” The project received support from Sun Future Art Education Foundation which bases itself on the belief that “Art Education Makes Good People,” and aims to help children grow both heart and mind. I was impressed by the teachers’ focus on exploration and innovation through aesthetics and photography, particularly as a way to build identity and encourage love and compassion among their students who predominantly came from disadvantaged families.

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China Global Philanthropy Institute in Beijing

During my visit to Beijing for Philanthropy in Childhood Education in China: Trends and Perspectives conference, I was thrilled to learn more about China Global Philanthropy Institute (CGPI), a think-tank established three years ago to provide information on China’s rapidly expanding philanthropic sector and training programs for foundation executives as well knowledge exchange, reporting and monitoring on the sector which currently totals 7,000 foundations.

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