【GYLD Talk】Joshua Dominick: Public welfare is everyone’s responsibility
On July 30, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies hosted the 2021 annual forum of the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) in Beijing. Around 140 young representatives from various walks of life participated in the forum, exchanging views on topics such as sustainable development, public health, the joint fight against the pandemic, scientific innovation, and an open world economy. Participants also shared stories of their experiences in China and exchanged views on the strengths and responsibilities of young people regarding issues such as climate change and environmental protection.
Joshua Dominick, Founder of Krankin’ thru China, delivered a speech at the GYLD Talk during the forum. The following is an abridged transcript of the speech, which has been edited for clarity.
Thank you all very much. This platform is an incredible opportunity, and it is something that I think we can really work to push forward. Today, my topic is public welfare. I think when a lot of people think of this topic or work on this topic, there is a mind of helping people, which is true. However, I think we can think much more broadly.
Today we touched on topics of connectivity, prosperity through poverty alleviation, education, science, health exchanges, politics, eating and simply how we live – these can all be different aspects of public welfare.
I’d like to cover four areas quickly. First, I’d like to talk about what is “public welfare”. Think a little bit about what it means, what it could mean for us. The next is what do the communities that we serve need? There are many different communities in the world, we need to engage each of them individually, specifically and work on their specific needs. I work with disabled communities, working to bring them into society, giving them opportunities to explore different avenues of life, and I’ll touch on that. And in the end, I think we need to get back to basics a lot of times. We think about the very specific aspect of our professions, of the work that we need to do, we need to take a higher-level perspective and investigate how we should do things more fundamentally.
‘Gong Yi’ – in Chinese public welfare is generally translated as ‘Gong Yi’. I looked up these two characters individually. “Gong”, on the top we have ‘Ba’ which also means to separate ‘Fen’ on this on the bottom. This is the agent character for personal, so we’re taking the personal, the individual, and sharing it among the greater community. Thus, it has the meaning of public, common fare, or collective. As for the character ‘Yi’ – there’s a ‘Min’ at the bottom, which is an ancient character for “vessel” – kind of looks like things are coming out – it means “abundant,” “to benefit,” “to increase” or “add”.
I think this is what we do, we’re trying to give to the public community more, to the communities that have less we’re trying to give them more. In public welfare, a lot of times we talk about assisting people, but we need to think more about empowering. We talked a lot about empowerment today. Different communities have different needs and situations. It also talks about special treatment, because of the individual and specific needs of communities. So, we need to talk more about giving them equal opportunity, when we talk about disadvantaged communities, remote communities, and poor communities, we need to integrate them into society, make them members of society. This is my concept of public welfare, and we can do this through several factors.
The second point is the needs of communities. Communities need to know who they are, they need to self-identify, giving themselves purposes, goals, they need to know where they fit in the larger environment. I think a lot of people even in the business community, like individual office workers, they really don’t know how they fit. We can help them to explore their different opportunities in the community better. How can I get involved? How can I be included and basically include myself in various other communities? Whether it’s through a volunteer opportunity or through other aspects? When we’re talking specifically about disabled communities. I find through my experiences that disabled individuals need recognition, acceptance of them as members of society, and they need access – whether it’s barrier free facilities, whether it’s policies that give them the equal access – the equal opportunity to access things.
And then we talk about equality and equity. We can think about this. I don’t have a lot of time – think about what’s equal and what’s equitable. This image kind of shows it a little bit – different tools, different opportunities, different platforms give people equity in life. Concerns that disabled peoples face specifically – barrier free environments. This is a great venue. China has done a lot too. Make places and venues accessible, however, we can do much more and be more specific, equal opportunity employment, employment is an incredible force. I think Erik talked about empowering local communities to alleviate their situation in terms of impoverishment. As for social engagement, I do a lot to just hang out with the members of my organization, it’s not an event. It’s not something that I’m forced to do, it’s not a public event, it is just hanging out. Social engagement is very important.
I think we need to go back to basics in a lot of our work and a lot of our ventures. We need to go back to basics and ask what how and who. So, who is being served, who are the actual stakeholders? Who are the people that we need to benefit? What is the job? What exactly are we doing to serve these people? How do we define our position? How do you define our job? And how does the job get done? It doesn’t need to be complicated, it doesn’t need to be high level. Obviously, we need to take things to a very professional level, but we need to also do what needs to be done. Public welfare is everyone’s responsibility. It’s something that we can all do in our life. It’s something that we can do in terms of how we live, how we act and how we work. Thank you very much.
Note: The above text is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. It is posted as a reference for the discussion.