On March 4th, 2019, CGPI and CPRI colleagues participated in Seminar on Gates Annual Letter 2019 by video links from three places. They read the letter and watched related videos. Wang Zhenyao, President of both CGPI and CPRI, interpreted and analyzed Gates’ letter, and invited colleagues to share their opinions and ideas. The following is an excerpt from this seminar.
Director of Philanthropy Research Center
"When promoting Giving Pledge, Gates also did pretty much supporting research and advocacy. Looking back at my previous study on the contribution of the Rockefeller family to human and society, I can feel that those who promote great social progress are very good at giving a concept and then promoting it. Such promotion is a continuous and strict system with a series of research, actions, projects, and research achievements. This reminds me of my policy study and comparison in the United States when I often communicated with my colleagues. We found that the United States is good at systematic planning: it can design a scientific system from one point, including the power of science, evidence, and design."
"This reminds me of the curriculum in our institute, for example, Theory of Change is about how to systematically solve social problems. The solutions and materials provided in Gates Annual Letter have inspired me. We have a course on Analysis of Social Problems and Project Design. I remember that the President said to us Trend Research Department the year before last and last year that you should do extensive social analysis. Whether in the UN SDGs or Gates Annual Letter, very important social issues always attract attention. My analysis of the logic and expression behind Gates Annual Letter is that every surprise is actually a social issue. Gates Foundation finds entry points in their work and these issues, and demonstrates them through stories and statistics."
"Last year I began to go deep in strategic planning, find an important topic, and conducted systematical demonstration, promotion, and design. The whole process has already extended to industry chain of business. Through diagnosis of social problems, design of action plans, and monitoring and evaluation of effects, how to make these things, people, and projects into a case for further promotion and recycle when entering a certain stage needs us to get through the whole business chain."
Executive Vice-President of CPRI
"Firstly, CPRI also conduct annual inventory based on monthly analysis at the end of each year, such as the top ten progress and six major trends in pension. I compared the Gates Annual Letter and our present annual inventory. In fact, these two products are different. Gates Annual Letter is more macroscopic and global while our annual inventory is more event-driven with focus on the introduction of certain regulations. The overall perspective of Gates Annual Letter is very inspiring for our product design."
"Secondly, about leadership. When Gates was building a business, it was not a family business; but why his whole family, including his father and Melinda, joins in his philanthropic endeavor? We can see that philanthropy has more gentle leadership; especially it can stimulate women’s leadership. In the United States, there is a Brown Environmental Leadership Lab (BELL). I wonder why environment has leadership. Now I think the children issue and pension we study actually have leadership as well, and we can understand leadership from multiple perspectives to design related programs. In the past, we narrowly understood leadership as a kind of power or strategic planning of leaders; but in fact, gentle leadership is also a kind of leadership."
"Thirdly, where are the 9 surprises of Gates from? As we know, Gates is one of the few philanthropists who can read boring reports. When Buffett gave money to Gates Foundation, an important reason was that Gates would read the World Development Report released by the World Bank every year. I have noticed that among the books recommended by Gates in recent years, innovation and social survey categories account for the most. For example, when I was in the United States, I read a book that he recommended, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, focusing on the story of 8 ethnic minority families in American neighborhoods. It can be seen that Gates’ reading preference is related to his analysis habits. His finding of these 9 surprises depended on the perspective he chose. His perspectives of analysis include gender, technological philanthropy, and data. This is a great inspiration for our daily tracking and monitoring work. For example, the perspective from which we have already been tracking policy changes is one. and the second is actually the perspective of topic selection of research. A kind of perspective comes from traditional knowledge structure. For example, I bought an English book on sociology published by Tsinghua University, containing 29 sociological topics from gender, cross-culture and other perspectives. Knowledge itself has a perspective, but more importantly it comes from practice. These perspectives that Gates chose have broken through the modern knowledge perspectives."
Head of Philanthropy Online Academy
Teacher Yang Ziyun shared her story with Gates Annual Letter - it turns out she has been paying attention to it since the first Gates Annual Letter in 2009, when she was engaged in the media industry. She still clearly remembered that the Gates Annual Letter that year focused more about health such as five-year-old child mortality and malaria. Year after year, Gates Annual Letter often recurs such content; there was also a story about Gates Foundation’s development of polio vaccine: failure existed with no discouragement.
For her, what Gates Annual Letter gave her most was optimism: to be a real optimistic practitioner. (Full of ideals, love, and action! This is exactly Youtopia. Click to join Youtopia | paradise for idealists and spiritual home of philanthropy practitioners.
(Full of ideals, love, and action! This is exactly Youtopia. Click to join Youtopia | paradise for idealists and spiritual home of philanthropy practitioners.
Senior Analyst of Social Policy Research Center
What Li Chunyan saw most was business opportunities. Paying attention to social impact investment, she was also constantly concerned about the social changes brought about by these investments. She thought about the relationship between left-behind children and economic development, looking forward to having more capital to focus on philanthropy and thus promote social progress. (Colleagues in Shenzhen must have the same feelings about social changes. Let's see the changes that have occurred in Shenzhen's social organizations. Release of the first Blue Book of Social Organizations of Shenzhen)
Director of Development & Alumni Center
"As a mother of two kids, Teacher Liu Libo was particularly touched by Gates family’s endeavor in philanthropy. She said that she wanted to share her feeling of such emotional power: warmth, friendship, and love. (EMP is a big family full of warmth, friendship, and love like this. Welcome to join EMP. There is no problem for couple students. Ongoing admission of EMP2019 Spring Course) "