China's leading expert in social policy, Dr. Zhang has long informed her country’s most important policy-making bodies. She is the founder of Beijing Normal University's Institute of Social Development and Public Policy, one of China’s most influential public-policy centers. The institute has evolved into the School of Social Development and Public Policy, addressing issues such as poverty, child welfare, aging population services, mental healthcare, migration, and disparities among urban and rural communities.
Through her policy advisory work, Dr. Zhang helped create policies focused on social assistance, child protection, orphans' rights, and healthcare insurance for children. Her work also resulted in the creation of programs for the impoverished and the elderly, and the development of procedures for natural disaster management and registration requirements for nonprofit agencies. Beyond policy development, Dr. Zhang has advanced the education and training of social workers to deliver services to the needy. She also coordinated the Wenchuan Earthquake Taskforce, following the 2008 disaster in Sichuan, which created long-term recovery models to assist victimized communities.
Her awards include the New Century Excellent Talents in University Award from China's Ministry of Education and China's State Council Outstanding Scholarship Award. She has also received notable grants from local and national Chinese governments, UNICEF, Oxfam, the Ford Foundation, and the ZeShan Foundation, which is funding her project to develop national social work curriculum standards.
Despite facing enormous pressures, Dr. Zhang continues to promote her research and advocate for policies that improve the lives of China’s underprivileged citizens — ensuring that the voices of her country's most marginalized people are heard.
The Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award was established in 1964 by Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Haas, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Peter E. Haas, and Mr. and Mrs. Richard N. Goldman. One of the most prestigious honors conferred by the Berkeley campus, the award was created to mark the 50th wedding anniversary of Walter A. Haas, longtime head of Levi Strauss, and his wife, arts patron Elise Haas. The award acknowledges their devotion to the University of California, Berkeley and their interest in international affairs.
The Haas International Award honors an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley (defined as having attended the campus for a minimum of two semesters or three quarters) who is a native, citizen, and resident of a nation other than the United States of America, and who has a distinguished record of service to his or her country. The service may be in any field of endeavor, including but not limited to the arts, sciences, classical professions, education, business, or government. The recipient must have been enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student for at least one full year; the earning of a degree is not required.
The Haas International Award includes a cash prize of US $15,000, an engraved medallion, and travel expenses for the recipient to attend the award’s presentation. The presentation will be made at the University’s Commencement Convocation Ceremony, held in May.
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