The Chicago Council on Global Affairs announced today that Ma Jun, China’s leading environmentalist, will join the Council as the 2017 Dr. Scholl Foundation Visiting Fellow on U.S.-China Relations. Ma Jun is the founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), a nonprofit organization which developed China’s first environmental public database, as well as the Blue Map, a mobile app that helps the public provide “micro-reports” regarding environmental violations and polluted rivers.
“Ma Jun is a powerful voice for environmental action in China and a leading force in the effort to protect water resources through sweeping developmental change,” said Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “Having Ma Jun in Chicago presents the Council and its members with a unique opportunity to learn about both China’s environmental future and our own. This is especially important now, as China takes on an increasingly important role in meeting the global challenge of environmental sustainability.”
Ma Jun will visit Chicago November 8-20, and deliver the ninth annual Dr. Scholl Foundation lecture on November 16. During his visit, Ma Jun will meet with Chicago thought leaders at universities, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and civic institutions with interest and expertise on U.S.-China relations.
“I am honored to be a Dr. Scholl Visiting Fellow at the Chicago Council,” said Ma Jun. “Addressing the world’s daunting environmental challenges will require China and the United States to take their own actions and shoulder individual responsibilities. But beyond that, I hope to examine how the two countries may tap into the vast development of monitoring technology and the rapid expansion of environmental transparency in order to level the playing field for sustainable production, trade and investment.”
Ma Jun began his career in 1993 working for the South China Morning Post, where his research on China’s environmental problems spurred him to publish the 1999 book, China’s Water Crisis. He founded IPE in 2006 to help the public access environmental information and to solve the lack of connection between the public and government officials regarding environmental issues. IPE provides a wealth of information about the state of pollution in China, and the companies and factories responsible. It has been widely used by major global and local brands and some financial institutions, motivating thousands of companies to openly address their violation problems. To date, Ma Jun and his team have exposed over 800,000 environmental violations by more than 600,000 factories operating in China.
Creating China’s first environmental public database and its platform to report violations has garnered international recognitions and awards for Ma Jun. He was selected as a Yale World Fellow (2004), named one of the 100 most influential persons in the world by Time Magazine (2006), received the Goldman Environmental Prize (2012), and became the first Chinese social entrepreneur to win the Skoll Award (2015).
The Dr. Scholl Foundation Visiting Fellow on U.S.-China Relations was established in 2012 to build Chicago-China institutional ties, advance dialogue between Chicagoans and Chinese experts and enhance Chicago’s relevance and visibility with Chinese leaders.