Scholars from across the globe discuss COVID-19 social impact at LU international conference

The 17th East Asian Social Policy Network (EASP) Annual Conference was held with the 27th Foundation for International Studies on Social Security (FISS) at Lingnan University from 2 to 4 July 2021.


The theme of the three-day conference, Mitigating the economic and social impact of COVID-19 - Social security and Social Welfare Responses in East and West, was in a hybrid format, where 135 delegates from 19 countries and territories addressed key social issues highlighted by the pandemic in person and online.


Prof Joshua Mok Ka-ho, LU Vice-President, and Prof Peter Saunders, the President of FISS among other important guests opened the conference, and the first plenary was a panel discussion on Hong Kong Social Policy at a Crossroads, moderated by Prof Bea Cantillon from the University of Antwerp, Belgium.


Panelists Prof Paul Yip Siu-fai from the University of Hong Kong, Prof Mok, Prof Chen Juan from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Prof Wong Hung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong expressed their views and proposed solutions to the social challenges facing Hong Kong, covering social security, the labour force, ageing, youth development and well-being.


In the second plenary, Inequality in East & West from Multiple Angles, Prof Janet Gornick from the City University of New York in the US presented a cross-national picture of socioeconomic outcomes. In the third plenary, Healthy Aging and Community Based Old Age Care Services in China, Prof Li Bingqin from the University of New South Wales, Australia, led a detailed discussion on the concepts of healthy ageing and community-based old-age care. Prof David Gordon from Bristol University, UK, presented a systematic global overview of Covid-19 and its negative impact on poverty and sustainable development goals in the final plenary.


As well as plenary sessions, the conference held about 30 parallel panel and stream sessions, focusing on social policy responses to the Covid-19 crisis, poverty measurement in East Asia, education and youth transitions, health and human well-being, gender inequality, work-family reconciliation, and housing and urbanisation.


The EASP is the largest regional association facilitating research exchange among social policy analysts, and providing a forum and network of communication for the development of social policy in East Asia. The FISS is an independent non-profit association, founded in Sweden, to promote international, multidisciplinary research on social security.