Prof. Yahua Wang, professor at the School of Public Policy and Management and Vice President of the China Institute for Rural Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing, chaired the highly successful first workshop on commons held in China (October 14-15, 2017), attracting over 80 academic experts from several countries. The focus of this workshop was ‘water governance and policy’. Endorsement by the IASC enabled the organization of this workshop.
In his opening speech Professor Wang noted that the study of Commons is a relatively new research field in China which can only be traced back to the year of 2000, when Prof. Mao Shoulong, from Renmin University, organized the translation of Elinor Ostrom’s book into Chinese. Since then more works around Ostrom and commons in China have been published by Chinese scholars and in recent years, papers around commons study in China have appeared in international journals.
Professor Wang also noted he had been a visiting scholar in Indiana University working under Elinor Ostrom when she was awarded the Noble Prize, and she subsequently visited Tsinghua University in 2011.
The focus of the 2017 Commons Workshop was ‘water governance and policy’. Water is of special significance to both ancient and modern China and the country is facing new challenges arising from water shortage, pollution, rising demand, and inter-basin transfer of water. Professor Wang also noted that the workshop marked the beginning of a ‘Chinese Commons Study Network’ to link scholars across China working on commons issues.
John Powell, President of the International Association for the Study of Commons (IASC), and Frank van Laerhoven, Chief Editor of the International Journal of the Commons both participated in the Workshop, giving opening remarks and later on in the conference, keynote addresses.
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All photos by John Powell, copyright: IASC