Dr. May Farid is a political scientist studying civil society, policy and development in contemporary China and beyond.
I currently research education policy in China as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Stanford's Graduate School of Education. I am a Lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong and hold a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Oxford, where I explored reciprocal engagement between grassroots groups and governmental authorities and during which she carried out extensive fieldwork in rural China. 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 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. My work has been published in International Affairs, Studies in Comparative Development, Voluntas, and the Journal of Chinese Political Science.