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Dr. May Farid is a political scientist studying civil society, policy advocacy and environmental governance in contemporary China and beyond. 


I am a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University's Center on China's Economy and Institutions, and will be an Assistant Professor at the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies beginning Fall 2023. I hold a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Oxford. My academic research and teaching is supplemented by seven years of experience with an international foundation running an institutional capacity building program for grassroots NGOs in China. Before joining HKU, I concluded a four-year research project on behalf of China’s leading government policy think-tank. My work has been published in International Affairs, World Development, Studies in Comparative International Development, Voluntas, and the Journal of Chinese Political Science

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My research centers on the interplay between citizen initiatives and state policy and practice, and the implications of this dynamic for development and governance. Ordinary citizens are increasingly taking individual and collective initiative to address development challenges. Citizens of authoritarian regimes--and many democracies--struggle to have a voice in development and policy. How do citizen initiatives impact state policy and practice? What social and political dynamics foster citizen engagement? 


I have explored these questions by studying how Chinese grassroots NGOs influence policy, how cross-sector knowledge communities generate knowledge that intersects with the policy process, education and development policy in China's ethnic minority regions, and how International NGOs intermediate China's overseas aid and investment and in its Belt and Road Initiative.

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