The Centre for Civil Society and Governance is a multi-disciplinary research unit established by the Department of Politics and Public Administration under the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong.

Our Mission

The Centre for Civil Society and Governance was established by The University of Hong Kong (HKU) in December 2002 with the aim of enhancing our knowledge of the nature, constituents, and roles of civil society and, in particular, the contribution that civil society can make towards good governance. The Centre seeks to foster the development of a vibrant civil society in Hong Kong, China and other parts of the world through research, advocacy and dissemination.


The specific objectives of the Centre are:

  • To gain a clearer understanding of the character and functions of civil society.
  • To study the functioning and consequences of various types of civil society organizations, especially those which can enhance governance in society.
  • To develop practical measures which can strengthen civil society and enhance its impact as an agent for improving governance in such areas as public policymaking, accountability, transparency and information accessibility, and development of informed public opinion.
  • To foster dialogue and closer partnership among the University, the Government, and civil society organizations.

Our Research Focus

Since establishment, the Centre focuses on three areas in its research activities, publications as well as training and education programmes, namely:

  • Macro-level studies on civil society in Hong Kong
  • Public governance and civil society
  • Micro-level studies on civil society and NGO management

Concept of Civil society

"Civil society" is one of the most important concepts in the social sciences today and a key policy agenda among policymakers and practitioners. It refers to the collection of social organizations and groups which are distinct from, yet interact with, the government, the market, and the family. As many social scientists point out, apart from being a watchdog of government and business, a vibrant civil society is an important social partner in governance. At its best, it creates resources to solve social problems and directs social development, facilitates public policymaking and implementation, and promotes mutual trust among government, business, and citizens.

The importance of the partnership between civil society and governance is well recognized internationally. Likewise in Hong Kong, the Government and the voluntary sector have become increasingly aware of, and receptive to, the importance of civil society.

For more information ...

about the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of the University of Hong Kong, please download:

Our Report (2003-2006)
Our pamphlet