Planning for the Hao Ran Summer Workshop program began in 1989, with the first workshop held the following year in Santa Cruz. Attendees and lecturers came from a variety of professional backgrounds, and included entrepreneurs, academics, civil servants, and social workers. The summer workshops were designed to foster communicative learning environments, encouraging critical thinking, cultural awareness, and active participation.
Between 1990 and 2001, seven summer workshops were held around the world. Summer workshop committee members and lecturers also organized Hao Ran Taiwan Workshops, which were held in 2000 and 2003 for young professionals. Lecture and discussion topics were inspired by contemporary issues, including modernization, large-scale issues, and socioeconomic, cultural, and technological development across Asia.
The second Taiwan Workshop was held in Taipei and Taoyuan, Taiwan. The central topic was globalization's recent trends, and the effects they have had on society.
For the first Taiwan Workshop, participants gathered in Taiwan and Japan to discuss topics including post-earthquake reconstruction, ecosystem management, participation in sustainable societies, and the culture, art, and history of Taiwan.