Visiting Scholar Hung Wong Shares his Background and Projects Year at Columbia

Yahan Yang
January 07, 2019

Hung Wong, an associate professor at Department of Social Work in the Chinese University of Hong Kong is a visiting scholar at the Columbia School of Social Work and the Columbia China Center for Social Policy from January to December 2019. He shared his background, interests, and Columbia expectations in a recent written interview.


What led you to your career as an academic and researcher? What are your main research areas and interests?

Facing increasing disparity among people in a globalizing world, we need to be aware of such societal changes and ready to transform the disparity. I believe that the knowledge created and transferred by the academics are the keys to this transformation while I am glad to be a member of the academic community. Trained as a social worker as well as a sociologist, I am interested in conducting applied research to bring this transformation. My main research areas are poverty, social security, labor, community economic development as well as services to homeless people in Hong Kong and China.

Can you briefly introduce your home institution?

I have been teaching at the Department of Social Work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong since 2002. The history of the Department dates back to 1956, when Chung Chi College, a founding college of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, established the Department of Religious Studies and Social Work. Adopting the North American tradition, the social work curriculum emphasized a liberal arts education as well as professional training. Since its establishment, the Department has nurtured around 6,000 graduates. Most graduates are working in the field of social welfare in top administrative, middle management and direct practice levels. A number of our graduates are professors and researchers in social work training institutions.

Founded in 1963, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is a forward-looking comprehensive research university with a global vision and a mission to combine tradition with modernity, and to bring together China and the West.

What aspects of being a visiting scholar at Columbia are exciting to you? 

I treasure the stimulating academic exchange with staff and students of the School of Social Work at Columbia.  Moreover, I am excited about conducting collaborative research with Prof. Qin Gao and Dr. Chris Wimer.

What are your main research activities during your stay at Columbia and in NYC?

There will be three main research activities. Firstly, I will collaborate with Prof. Qin Gao, China Centre for Social Policy, to conduct comparative research on social protection schemes for migrant women and children in Hong Kong and China. Prof. Qin Gao and I will also conduct joint research on the redistributive effects of welfare and social security policies of China and Hong Kong since 2000. Lastly, I will conduct research on the impacts of anti-poverty programs of NYC and Hong Kong with a focus on anti-child poverty and working-poor programs. This last research will be in collaboration with Dr. Chris Wimer, Centre on Poverty and Social Policy.

Columbia Affiliations
China Center for Social Policy