The Joint Research Group organized the first Migration Cafe on 16 Dec 2015. The Migration Cafe is an informal and open exchange platform for discussing migration-related topics around a cup of coffee/tea. The first get-together focused on whether the emphasis on the Cantonese Language as the key to successful “integration” of South Asians into Hong Kong society is actually justified, or if it serves to hide or normalize underlying racial and class hierarchies, by comparing experiences of Westerners in Hong Kong that are not pressured to learn the local language at all. The exchange was lively. Dr. Kara Fleming from the University of Hong Kong, an expert of the topic, led the discussion of that afternoon. Over 20 people from different universities in Hong Kong, and of diverse ethnic origins, participated actively in the discussion. Many expressed their experiences and opinions on the topic both on professional and personal levels.
The symposium on “Voyages, Migration and the Maritime Silk Road: An International Symposium on China’s Role in Global History”, was held in Hong Kong on 7-8 December 2015. Prof. Ricardo Mak, Project Leader of the Joint Research Group and Director of the Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies of HKBU, which was one of the symposium’s organizers, officiated at the opening ceremony. Both Prof. Ricardo Mak and Katy Lam were invited to discuss their research in this symposium. Prof. Ricardo Mak gave a presentation on “The Search for Spiritual Inwardness in Modern Society: Zong Baihua’s (1897-1986) Aesthetic Vision”. Katy Lam presented a paper on “Retreat of the Chinese State: Globalization History of Chinese State-owned Entreprises in Africa.”