Established in 2012, the mission of the Huamin Research Center is to develop and disseminate knowledge through research and exchange that promotes the professional development of nonprofit organizations and strengthens individual, family and community well-being in China.
“Our programs create a two way exchange of ideas,” says Chien-Chung Huang, professor and director of the Huamin Research Center. “We work to increase understanding between two of the largest countries in the world through exchange, research and scholarship. I believe we can learn from and help each other substantially as we move the profession forward together.”
The Huamin Center manages many research and exchange projects. In the research area, they compile three books on nonprofit management and social welfare issues. The Center has published 13 research reports, 14 brochures and four case studies on nonprofits in China. Among exchange activities, there is the Service Learning Abroad trip where students travel to China for four weeks. They gain hands-on social work experience while visiting schools and hospitals. Dr. Huang says it is very important to provide Rutgers students with opportunities in China so that they can experience the culture first-hand. “Beyond language, we are all human beings facing similar social problems and challenges,” he says.
The Huamin Research Center provides fellowships to doctoral and masters level students studying nonprofit and social welfare issues in China and hosts visiting scholars from China. The Huamin Center’s two most recent doctoral fellows were Shuang Lu and Yuqi Wang. Lu, originally from Anhui, China, has researched the well-being of migrant and left-behind children in China. Wang, visiting from Hebei, China, has researched nonprofit organizations and poverty in the U.S.
The Huamin Center also partners with a number of major Chinese and American universities and research institutions. Each year, the Center hosts international conferences and lectures, such as the International Symposium on Labor Security and Social Welfare and the Jiangxi Training Program (co-hosted with Rutgers China’s Office and the Office of Continuing Education in the School of Social Work). This training program hosted mayors and commissioners from the Jiangxi Province who participated in the Certificate Program in Public Administration. Students from the Huamin Research Center served as interpreters throughout the program. Through these collaborative efforts, the Center has contributed to the development of China’s nonprofit sector. Dr. Huang explains that much of China’s nonprofit sector is much newer than in America, and it is not as well-established as in the U.S.
“They come here to learn, and we travel there to learn as well. It is a two way exchange of knowledge between two of the most power countries in the world. We work together to create a bridge of change,” he adds.