“Social Enterprise and Innovation” by the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts

In keeping up with current social development, the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA) and the NGO Institute of Tsinghua University, PRC, jointly organized a symposium entitled “Social Enterprise and Innovation”. This symposium was held at the National Central Library, International Conference Hall on October 3, 2014 with two other workshops at the DDM World Center for Buddhist Education on October 4. The Abbot President of DDM, Ven. Guo Dong, shared the development process of DDM “Humane Care and Social Practice” seminar series in the opening ceremony; he pointed out that this development process has been a rewarding, inspiring and joyful journey.

In addition, Ven. Gou Dong recalled the late Ven. Master Sheng Yen’s indication to have “humane care” and “social practice” as themes for the academic conference organized by the Dharma Drum Humanities and Social Sciences Office of Planning (currently the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts) in 1999. Since then, a series of academic seminars revolving around these two themes or current social concern has generated great interest and attracted people from all walks of life. For example, the first symposium themed “Character on Humanity” left a deep and long lasting impact in addition to receiving wide coverage.

DDM has striven for more than 20 years to promote humane care and social practices, and the symposia centering on these two themes by DILA are just in time and under right conditions as well as in line with the initial vows of the institute’s formation prior to recruiting new students. The Master’s degree in “Social Enterprise and Innovation” having been planned in 2010 on the basis of social enterprise, followed by the Government’s proposal to designate 2014 as “The First Year of Social Enterprise” demonstrated the institute’s awareness and responsiveness towards current social development. The Abbot President also expressed DDM’s aspiration to respond to social issues and to improve the quality of the living environment through integration of interdisciplinary resources, which subsequently, would lead to the development of more positive character on humanity in addition to the implementation of overall social care.

“Are enterprises and society on opposing sides?” In his keynote address, Prof. Hsu Shi Jun of Feng Chia University pointed out that, on the contrary, entrepreneurs and investors are not always profit-oriented. Furthermore, enterprises could be sustained through innovation and direct appeal to investors to support social enterprises could resolve social responsibility conflict.

This event also provided the rare opportunity for business representatives as well as scholars from Mainland China and Taiwan to discuss the development and prospect of “social enterprise”. In addition, Minister Without Portfolio of Executive Yuan, Feng Yen, narrated activities organized by the Government to promote The First Year of Social Enterprise. There is also high hope from those present that the Master’s degree in “Social Enterprise and Innovation” that is to be launched next year will further foster youths to raise social enterprise to a new height.

Scholars attending the symposium were also invited to visit DDM World Center for Buddhist Education the following day. This enabled them to experience the humane care and environmental protection or education practiced by DDM.

(Translated by Tom Hsieh/Edited by Leefah)

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