China Hands became the first magazine to honor young individuals for their exceptional contributions to US-China relations and China studies. We are humbled and excited to present the fifth edition of “25 Under 25: Leaders in US-China Relations.”
After multiple rounds of selection, honorees were selected for recognition as leaders in US-China relations, notable for their contributions to fields including business, art, journalism, politics, and academia. This year’s editorial board extends our gratitude to our esteemed judge Susan Jakes, who is Editor of ChinaFile, Senior Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations, and recipient of the Henry Luce Public Service Award.
Due to circumstances requiring anonymity and security, one honoree has requested that their identity remain private. However, we hope the 24 narratives we are at liberty to share will inspire our readers to think critically about the evolving relationship between the United States and China and to embrace opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration and exchange in their own lives, especially in these troubled and turbulent times. Click the portraits to learn more about each honoree!
Congratulations to our honorees:
Alexis Dale-Huang, Amy Zhang, Anthony Comeau, Bohan Phoenix, Christopher Li, Dale MacLean, Daniel Ling, Emma Campbell-Mohn, Hannah Corn, Hao Chen, Jakob Lengacher, Jane Zhang, Jiaqiao Xiang, Josh Tupler, Joy Nuga, Larry Han, Miranda Gottlieb, Preston Lim, Rachel Walker, Sara Andresen, Savannah Billman, Shantanu Banerjee, Shobhit Kumar, Yixin Ren.
Alexis R. Dale-Huang is from Millbrae, California and will begin studying for an MA in Asian Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service this fall. She most recently worked at the Berggruen Institute and was previously a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow for China Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. Her research interests include Chinese foreign policy, US-China relations, and strategic developments in East Asia. Alexis previously worked as a research assistant at the University of Southern California (USC) Korean Studies Institute and a research intern at the National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs. Prior to this, she worked as an intern at both Asia Society Southern California and the USC US-China Institute. She has also spent time in Southeast Asia studying US military ties with countries in the region, and helped create a joint report with USC and Singapore Management University students that proposes post-rebalance policies for the US national security community. A David L. Boren scholar, Alexis studied abroad in Beijing, Shanghai, and Kunming, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. She graduated from USC with degrees in international relations and East Asian area studies in 2017 and hopes to pursue a career in research focused on Asia-Pacific security.
Amy Zhang was born in Beijing, grew up in Virginia and Hong Kong, and currently lives in New York City. She’s the News Associate Producer at Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, a Peabody-award winning Netflix news comedy show that deep-dives into cultural and political stories from across the globe. She pitched and co-produced the show’s first episode on China, highlighting the fearless work of Chinese feminists amidst censorship and social stigma. Amy is a firm believer in the power of community engagement and education in promoting cross-cultural understanding. She taught literature and writing at Beijing University to Chinese and American high schoolers for the Great Books Summer Program, and organized and taught workshops in community-based theater for Ping Chong + Company, a National Medal of Arts-winning theater company. At Wesleyan University, where she graduated with honors in anthropology, she coordinated the East Asian Studies outreach program for local Middletown elementary students. In a culture where quick takes and the hyper-accelerated news cycle is overshadowing more nuanced analysis, Amy believes that creating deeper narratives of understanding between American and Chinese – whether in media, entertainment, or even college orientations – is of the utmost importance. She is excited to continue writing and producing underrepresented stories, and hope to start her own non-profit that enables stories to foster real-life solutions and community impact.
Anthony Comeau is from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA and currently attends NYU Shanghai in China. Anthony will graduate from NYU Shanghai in May 2019 with a degree in social science (political science) and a minor in Chinese language. Anthony created a student group at NYU Shanghai called the International Criminal Court Student Network (ICCSN), which focused on bringing students of diverse backgrounds and of different disciplines to discuss and debate the motivating principles of international criminal law and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The student group entered into dialogue with experts, such as the first Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno Ocampo, and Professor Xu Xin of Nanjing University—China’s leading Judaic studies scholar. During his time at NYU Shanghai, Anthony also conducted research with fellow students and co-authored a paper with his linguistics professor Joshua Paiz on queer Chinese literature. Anthony also helped run NYU Shanghai’s Queer & Ally Society. Studying away in Washington D.C., Anthony interned at the US Congress with one of his Senators––Jeanne Shaheen, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In Washington, working with congressional staffers, Anthony learned about the calculus of foreign policy from a domestic, American perspective. In the future, Anthony hopes to continue to support people-to-people relationships between China and the United States through educational endeavors, such as NYU Shanghai, that afford young people an opportunity to meet and understand “the other.” In addition, Anthony hopes to continue to promote the visibility of LGBTQ people in China, whether through research or policy. Beyond continued interpersonal understanding, for Anthony, the most important issue in US-China relations today is reconciling the domestic economic and political systems of the two countries with global advancements in technology, data collection and information sharing. Anthony explored some of these questions in his capstone thesis, which focused on the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and how the law altered global tax governance.
Bohan Phoenix is an anomaly pursuing his music career in both the US and China simultaneously. His inclusion of Mandarin and English lyrics reflects his dual identity and aims to bridge the gap between the two cultures he calls home. Having toured both the US and China extensively, he is uniquely well-positioned to speak authoritatively on the two countries’ many differences in youth culture, entertainment, music and society firsthand in either language. Releasing music during the height of China’s hip hop ban, Bohan was interviewed and featured by the likes of Pigeons & Planes, Beats1 with Ebro Darden, Mass Appeal, 88rising, Hypebeast, South China Morning Post, RADII China and more. A strong believer in music’s ability to cross cultural boundaries, Bohan is a man of words who also holds an NYU Communications degree and loves to perform or speak to students about his experiences! He’s had the pleasure of doing so at McGill, Oberlin, UMass, Spotify’s NY offices, and a handful of other places.
Christopher Li is from Millburn, NJ and currently works on the research staff of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he focuses on Chinese foreign policy, Asia-Pacific security, and US-China technology competition. Within the China portfolio, he is also interested in Chinese history, politics, and grand strategy. At the Center, Chris assists Graham Allison with research in the Avoiding Great Power War Project, coordinates the China Working Group, and contributes to the US-China Controlling Confrontation in Cyberspace Project, a Track II Dialogue with the China Institute for International Strategic Studies. In his Belfer role, Chris planned and staffed a 12-day international trip to China, serving as a scheduler, interpreter, briefer, and press assistant, while coordinating meetings with Chinese scholars and senior government officials, including Vice President Wang Qishan. Prior to joining the Belfer Center, Chris worked as special project assistant for life sciences strategy in the Office of the Provost at Harvard and conducted research on cellular reprogramming and epigenetics at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at Harvard, Chris has been a teaching fellow for several biology courses, for which he has received the Harvard Distinction in Teaching Award. Chris has also been a legislative intern for Senator Mazie Hirono, assisting the Senator’s National Security Advisor with research on Indo-Pacific security and the National Defense Authorization Act, and completed the Hertog War Studies Program at the Institute for the Study of War. As an undergraduate student, Chris was involved with organizing the Harvard College China Forum (HCCF), the leading and longest-running student-run conference on China in North America. Chris received his A.B. in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology from Harvard University.
Dale MacLean is from Thousand Oaks, California and is currently a senior at Yale University with double majors in East Asian Studies and Mathematics & Philosophy. His passion for international politics and Chinese studies has been deeply shaped by a mix of academic and professional experiences; On Yale’s campus, MacLean is a CLS Field’s Scholar and has been involved with the Yale-China association as a L(U)CY fellow, researching the social entrepreneurship sector in China. He is also a recipient of the Richard U. Light Fellowship and studied at the Harvard-Beijing Academy. During his Yale career, MacLean worked as a research intern at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center in Beijing where he was a Yale-Bergin Fellow as well as a Carnegie-Tsinghua Youth Ambassador; He worked for the Center’s editorial team and aided Tsinghua professor Tang Xiaoyang, a preeminent China-Africa scholar, with his upcoming book. More recently, influenced by research around the impact of China’s One Belt One Road initiative in Southeast Asia, MacLean joined the Manila office of Index-Asia, a boutique finance advisory firm, as an analyst intern. Moving forward, MacLean hopes to pursue an advanced degree in either Global or East Asian affairs and ultimately, wants to help foster a more deeply interconnected global system. In MacLean’s eyes, and given the globe’s increasingly multipolar reality, a bright global future depends heavily on the ability of agents like China and America learning how to regularly find multi-lateral solutions to emerging problems.
Daniel Ling is from Rhode Island and currently works at Morgan Stanley in NYC. Born and raised in the United States, Daniel was named a US Presidential Scholar in 2012. After graduating with distinction from Princeton University in 2016, he joined Morgan Stanley as an investment analyst in NYC. Daniel was a US-China ambassador for the Ameson Foundation, as a US Presidential Scholar. He has visited China over 20 times and has traveled extensively throughout the country, visiting Beijing, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, and Suzhou, writing about Chinese economic trends in relation to the US. He has formally studied Chinese language and culture since age 6. Daniel earned his AB in applied mathematics in economics at Princeton University. He has conducted and published applied math research in economics, physics, theoretical chemistry, and computational biology. As an undergraduate at Princeton, Daniel studied the mathematics track, and his senior thesis focused on mechanism design theory and game theoretic analyses of loan markets with information asymmetry, as well as the role of government in assisting the economy. His thesis links applied math to public policy, global political economy, and international relations, with economic implications for both the US and China. His advisor was Professor Stephen E. Morris. Daniel was a staff writer for several campus publications including the Princeton Journal of Science and Technology and the Daily Princetonian, discussing topics ranging from scientific developments, international/comparative law, intellectual property law, and innovation in the context of China. He was also heavily involved in Princeton’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement as an undergrad, through which he taught foreign policy topics to students in disadvantaged inner-city communities. Daniel served in leadership roles in the Princeton Chinese Students Association and was involved in debate on campus, often concerning topics in global affairs. He was also involved at the Princeton JRCPPF, Princeton Math Club, and his residential college council at Wilson College. Daniel organized a program that teaches public policy topics to disadvantaged students in Newark, and founded a non-profit organization to forge connections between American and Chinese secondary school students, with the aim of promoting math and science enrichment opportunities. He has conducted field research on migrant labor populations in urban Chinese manufacturing and fieldwork interviewing rural communities of central and southeastern China. Through his field research, Daniel studied China’s regulatory landscape, human rights law, and immigration law. As part of his work experiences at investment firms and consultancies in the US and Europe, he has researched investment opportunities in China, global macro, and relevant geopolitics. In line with his accomplishments in US-China relations, Daniel aspires to serve in a leadership role and believes it’s vitally important for any global-minded leader to have a comprehensive and deep understanding of China. He is also interested in how applied mathematics can rigorously inform international relations and public affairs. Daniel maintains the importance of considering the inherent information asymmetries and incentive structures involved, which largely influence and sometimes adversely affect the strategic interactions between the US and China. Daniel believes one of the most important issues in US-China relations today is international trade, given the long-term economic implications stemming from the bilateral relationship. He affirms that US-China economic cooperation is of paramount importance, not only to each nation but also globally, given the bilateral relationship’s vast economic effects and the potential for global economic prosperity stemming from an effective one.
Emma Campbell-Mohn is from South Burlington, Vermont and is an incoming PhD student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Political Science Department. She earned a masters from Tsinghua University as part of the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars. At Schwarzman College, she studied the Cyberspace Administration of China and state-sponsored commercial cyber theft. After graduating from Tsinghua, she joined the Goldman Sachs’ Global Markets Institute, where she worked on a broad array of topics including gender gaps in corporate America, small businesses, and corporate strategy. At MIT, she will study international political economy, security studies, and US-China relations, with a particular focus on states’ use of economic tools for security aims. Her work has been published in the Diplomat, Financial Times, the Wilson Center, and Columbia Journal of Politics & Society, among other sources. She is a graduate of Duke University, where she taught a course on the current economic and political trends in China. Additionally, she is Co-President and Co-Founder of Seeing Higher, a nonprofit which provides travel funding for high school students to visit college campuses. She believes that core concerns in US-China relations is any potential for military confrontation, accidental or otherwise, and an escalation of trade disputes.
Hannah Corn is from Ringoes, New Jersey and is currently a Fulbright Researcher in Xian, China at Shaanxi Normal University. Her research focuses on the gender dynamics and consequences of China’s economic transformation and rapid urbanization, which creates adverse realities for those fueling its growth. Specifically, she analyzes how China’s capital-skill relationship hinders female migrant workers’ upward mobility in the labor force. Hannah graduated from The George Washington University in 2018 with a BA in International Affairs and Mandarin Chinese. During college she advocated for Asian-American visibility on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, assisted Dr. Guo Chen’s urbanization research at the Wilson Center, and conducted qualitative research that examined the Chinese government’s response to changing internal migration patterns in Beijing for her honors senior thesis. She is particularly interested in how the societal power structures and economic development of a society contribute to evolving understandings of social mobility, race, and identity. After completing her Fulbright, she hopes to pursue a career dedicated to centering people as the primary agents of social change, allowing for more productive discussions surrounding climate change, denuclearization, and open information access between the US and China. Hannah identifies fostering a relationship predicated more on cross-cultural understandings, rather than on political caricatures advanced by the media, as one of the most important factors in improving and sustaining US-China relations. Beyond using her research to inform effective global policymaking toward China, Hannah commits to sharing her experiences as a Chinese adoptee to drive inclusive conversations of societal issues in an increasingly international China.
Hao Chen is currently a masters candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Hao worked as a research assistant for Xin Hua News Agency, researching the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He has served several international conferences including the Beijing Forum. Additionally, he has completed a number of research papers on topics ranging from Taiwan’s foreign policy in Africa to the Analogous People’s Commune System in Guangdong to governance in Outer Mongolia to railway construction in the late Qing dynasty. Hao has won the Grand Prize and Highest Award of the 25th Challenge Cup Academic Competition in 2017, and was awarded the Founder Scholarship by Peking University. Hao’s main research interests are modern and contemporary Chinese history, Chinese politics, Taiwan studies and US-China relations.
Jakob Lengacher is from El Cerrito, California and is currently a master’s candidate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). Jakob came to MIIS’s Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control where he contributed research to the Risk Report database focusing on Chinese entities linked to proliferation. From 2016 to 2017, Jakob studied the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s relationship with new energy at Heilongjiang University in Harbin, China as a Fulbright Student Researcher. Jakob’s 2.5 years as a cultural ambassador in China impressed upon him the massive impact personal connections have in building cross-cultural understanding. He believes such connections lay the foundation for greater diplomatic accomplishments and hopes to continue building them throughout his career as a Foreign Service Officer. As a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow, Jakob will join the US Foreign Service after graduating from MIIS. He will begin preparing for that career this Summer by interning at the Department of State’s Bureau of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs. There he hopes to get back up to date on US-China relations and contribute to the Bureau’s mission. Jakob views reconciling both China’s desire for development unimpeded by unwanted obligations with the American view of responsible world stewardship, and China’s rising strength with a United States accustomed to global hegemony as the most important issues in US-China relations today. In his future career, Jakob hopes to help find a solution that preserves the two countries’ mutually beneficial and interdependent relationship.
Jane Zhang is from Connecticut and is a senior at Yale University double majoring in Political Science and History, with a certificate in Energy Studies. Although Jane was born and raised in the United States, she has lived over three years in China. Jane believes that youth are disproportionately impacted by pollution resulting from economic activity, and educating them about environmental issues at a young age can empower and inspire them to address future environmental issues in their communities. In 2013, Jane founded the international nonprofit “Spearmint” to empower urban youth in the US and China to take action for the environment with just $100 seed grant money from her high school. For the past six years, she has taken efforts to involve migrant children and transnational US-Chinese students in environmental education through teaching English in migrant schools and Spearmint. She and her team have grown Spearmint to impact over 14 million people, directly involve nearly 500 students, publish their work in over 5 Chinese newspapers, and encompass over 20 team members from 3 countries and 10 Chinese provinces. On behalf of Spearmint, she served as the Ambassador for China to UNEP’s TUNZA youth program, founding a new online contest to encourage US-China environmental education. She has also worked with the Shanghai government to institute a city-wide recycling program and established partnerships with over 5 Shanghai school districts to promote environmental education, and she has received Yale fellowships to research Ethylene Oxide environmental policy in China and share the results with Chinese local schools and Choate Rosemary Hall. Jane hopes to continue to use her nonprofit to educate and involve urban youth from both the US and China in intercultural exchange and grassroots environmental action.
Jiaqiao (Frank) Xiang is a junior studying Business and Data Science at New York University Shanghai. As the President of TEDxNYUShanghai, he brought nine great minds from China and the US together as speakers for the 2017 TEDx Conference under the theme, “Encounter.” Among his other distinctions, Frank received various scholarships for study at Semester at Sea, which brought him to travel to 11 countries on four continents. He additionally received a full scholarship to Tel Aviv University’s summer program and Duke Kunshan University’s Global Learning Semester. Frank has studied abroad in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Washington, D.C. It was in the nation’s capital, Frank interned the Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum. He worked on creating multi-stakeholder dialogues that identify areas for US-China collaboration on energy and environmental issues, including forums in topics on New Energy Vehicles, Municipal Waste Reforms, Sustainable Development in Asia, and Green Belt and Road. Facing the common challenge on global warming, the US and China have consensus and incentives to collaborate in environment and energy sector. He is a first-generation college student from Nanling county in Anhui Province. Frank’s interests are at the intersection of business, technology, and environmental policy. He hopes to become a mediator who bridges gaps among different stakeholders between China and the United States.
Josh Tupler is a researcher at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where his portfolio covers Chinese foreign policy and East Asian nuclear issues. While living in Beijing as a Yenching Scholar and Young Ambassador with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center, Josh studied the evolving Chinese perspective on the North Korean nuclear issue, a topic that served as the focus of his master’s thesis. Josh also helped facilitate a Carnegie-Tsinghua Track 1.5 dialogue that briefed principals at the White House. Josh aspires to one day serve in government, working to build a more peaceful world anchored in stable US-China relations.
Joy Omosalewa Nuga was born and raised in The Bronx, New York to immigrant parents originally from Lagos, Nigeria. Joy is currently a Senior Risk Analyst at Goldman Sachs and a 2017 graduate of the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College with a degree in Economics and minors in Public Policy and German. While at Hunter, Joy was the recipient of the 2016 Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University, was named a 2017 Franklin Williams Scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, a 2017 Carnegie Council Student Research Finalist and was most recently named a 2020 Schwarzman Scholar, where she will receive a Master’s in Global Affairs with a concentration in Business and Economics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. These honors pertain to her interests in the nexus of private finance, public policy, and cybersecurity. Joy seeks to be a leader in public-private partnerships to not only further secure global cyberspace, but also promote increased economic collaboration between the two countries that will be at the pinnacle of business and technology — the United States and China. Joy now serves on the Advisory Board for the Cyber Workforce Alliance (CWA) and regularly advocates for global cyber literacy and empowerment at forums such as the NICE Conference.
Larry Han is from Raleigh, North Carolina and is currently a PhD student in biostatistics at Harvard University. Larry co-founded and is Director of Strategy at Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health (SESH), a social enterprise based in Guangzhou that uses crowdsourcing to advance public health and medicine in China. During his time as a Schwarzman Scholar, Larry won the Outstanding Thesis Award for his research on the political and economic effects of healthcare reform in China. Larry believes that the most important issue in US-China relations today is the development of and adherence to ethical artificial intelligence guidelines, particularly in the life sciences and biotechnology. Larry holds an MPhil in Operations from the University of Cambridge, an MA in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University, and a BSPH in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Miranda Gottlieb is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, and currently works for Johnson & Johnson as Associate Manager of Government Affairs & Policy, based in Beijing, China. Her area of focus includes public health related policy issues including universal basic health coverage, public hospital reform, and tobacco policy in China. Prior to her role at Johnson & Johnson, Miranda graduated from Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University where she pursued a Master’s of Global Affairs. Her interest in China began in 2016 while she was working to reduce the tragedy of the US opioid and heroin epidemic in the State of Florida and became curious about the relationship between Chinese drug policy and the US opioid epidemic. Miranda holds a BA from the University of Tennessee in political science and Hispanic studies. She was a scholar in the Howard Baker Center for public policy where she worked drug policy, criminal justice reform, and voter engagement. Miranda is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish. Since living and working in China, Miranda is proud to have built a young professional speaker series at Schwarzman College. Miranda launched a weekly peer-to-peer speaker series where scholars from China and across the globe presented on a subject of their professional or academic expertise, culture, or passion. At Schwarzman College, the speaker series continues to be an iconic, student-led program which has hosted over 110 speakers from over 30 countries. Miranda strives to make a difference in Chinese health policy by improving patient access to care and quality for all people. She is committed to bolstering the Chinese health innovation ecosystem to drive the future of personalized and precision medicine across the world. As trade tensions escalate between the US and China, Miranda believes that the greatest issue facing policy makers is how to acclimate domestic politics to the new normal of a multipolar world.
Preston Lim is from Vancouver, Canada and is currently a student at Yale Law School, where he serves as Student Director of the Paul Tsai China Center. He graduated from Princeton with a degree in Near Eastern Studies and then spent a year at Tsinghua University as part of the Schwarzman Scholars Program. He speaks French, Mandarin, Taiwanese, and a smattering of Turkish, and has lived and worked around the globe, from Azerbaijan to Hong Kong. He has worked for UNICEF’s Beijing Office and as a Policy Advisor to MP Erin O’Toole, the Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs. His work on Sino-Canadian relations has appeared in the National Post, Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and Lawfare, among other outlets. He also writes on the Chinese military and on counter-insurgency and defense affairs. His book, The Evolution of British Counter-Insurgency During the Cyprus Revolt of 1955-59, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. Preston hopes to become a JAG lawyer for the Canadian Armed Forces after graduation.
Rachel C. Walker is from Boston, USA and currently works as a freelance composer and curator of cultural events. She was a 2018 Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and previously studied at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the China Conservatory of Music (中国音乐学院), where she was a Visiting Scholar advised by Gao Weijie (高为杰). Rachel’s compositions draw from her ongoing immersion in and research on Chinese folk music, musical time, and language. Her pieces have been heard across the US, China, Sweden, Portugal, Canada, Colombia, and Australia, with major performances and commissions from the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra (天津交响乐团), Svensk Musikvår, NANOWorks Opera, Departure Duo, percussionists Allen Otte and Zhang Yongyun (张永韵), the Butter Quartet (NL), recorder player Sylvia Hinz, and pipa virtuoso Xia Yuyan (夏雨言). As the recipient of multiple grants to China and Taiwan, she has studied and written about traditional and contemporary music, while simultaneously composing dynamic new works for Chinese and Western instruments. Her writings have been published by NewMusicBox and Southwest China Normal University Press, as well as presented in guest lectures at Harvard University, Australian National University, Tsinghua University, Shandong University, and the China Conservatory. She sees the most important issue in US-China relations today as a lack of widespread cultural understanding of China. “There is attention paid to issues with immediate financial ramifications— but on a fundamental level, we lack a means of cultural and linguistic empathy. My goal is to draw attention to the rich folk traditions alive in Chinese music today through creating opportunities for sincere cultural exchange amongst performers, composers, and audiences.”
Sara Andresen is from Staten Island, USA and she will be attending the Washington International Diplomatic Academy this summer. During Sara’s studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst she pursued many research projects focusing on China including a study of naval rises to reflect China’s current military buildup, an independent study on Contemporary Confucianism, and her senior undergraduate thesis which focused on the implications of Xi Jinping’s approach to governance through his consolidation of state power and national identity. In addition to her studies at UMass, Sara is also a Boren Scholar and lived in China for nearly a year, studying in intensive language programs in Shanghai and Beijing. Last summer, she continued her stay in Beijing as a research intern for Paul Haenle, the director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, where she focused on the security and economic relationship between the US and China through topics ranging from North Korean non-proliferation to the US-China Trade War. In the future, she hopes to continue the dialogue that exists between high level officials in China and the US in order to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding and to find compromise amidst rising differences. She hopes to accomplish this by working for the US State Department to strengthen the level of diplomatic exchanges between the two countries. Currently, Sara believes that the most important issue in US-China relations is the emerging technology sector, particularly 5G networks and its potential to create a globalized technological split that could be the spark of a cold war front.
Savannah Billman is from Pennsylvania, United States and graduated with honors from NYU Shanghai, Class of 2019. She will be attending Peking University’s Yenching Academy in the fall. In her undergraduate career she has pursued the intersection of journalism and history in a Chinese context, writing for NYU Shanghai’s student newspaper On Century Avenue, NYU’s travel magazine NYU Baedeker, Sixth Tone, and most recently for Shanghai’s LGBTQ organization Qmmunity. In addition, she has worked to bring a broader understanding of Chinese issues to the international community, organizing and hosting events on Chinese current events and writing her graduation thesis on the linkages between Han Dynasty foreign policy and the PRC’s Belt and Road Initiative. In her future studies, Savannah will continue to cultivate a deeper understanding of Chinese literary history. She aspires to work in China reporting and researching stories that humanize, explain, and interpret Chinese cultural movements and trends. Today, the US is endeavoring to maintain its stance as a world power while China seeks to be considered as an alternate option. Savannah believes that lack of informed communication and understanding between these two sides of the global debate impede actual progress and cooperation on important global issues, such as environment protection efforts, and her writing seeks to explore the truth behind propagated narratives.
Shantanu Banerjee is from Austin, Texas and currently attends Tsinghua University in Beijing as a Schwarzman Scholar. During his time with the White House Council of Economic Advisers and US Department of the Treasury, Shantanu conducted extensive research on topics ranging from historical RMB forex rates and currency manipulation to intervention proxy measures for China and TPP nations. His time at Bloomberg’s Beijing bureau and the US Department of State embassy in Beijing helped him develop a more nuanced understanding of US-China issues based on diverse perspectives. Shantanu believes that the most important issue in US-China relations today is the lack of mechanisms to deescalate current or future economic and military tensions on issues ranging from the ongoing trade disputes and tensions in the South China sea to Taiwan and the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Shantanu intends to return to public service in a capacity that allows him to play some part in America’s approach to China.
Shobhit Kumar of Ellicott City, MD, is a Pickering Fellow with the US Department of State and a MA student at Yale University in the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. His research focuses on contemporary US-China relations and the Chinese legal system. Kumar graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University with a degree in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. While at Princeton, he wrote a thesis examining judicial transparency in China and won the Class of 1924 Award for most outstanding contribution to a public policy seminar. Kumar has held fellowships at the State Department’s Office of Taiwan Coordination and US Embassy Beijing, reporting on political issues. He has also worked with the Brookings Institution, researching Chinese involvement in Africa. Kumar is committed to maintaining a strong diplomatic relationship between the US and China, stating, “US-China cooperation is critical to the future of our world. When the two largest economies in the world have worked together, we have done immense good. We have brought aid to those who need it most, we have fought pandemic disease, and we have countered narcotics trafficking. The most important task ahead of us is sustaining our partnership, especially in those areas in which we share common interests.” Kumar credits the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) and Princeton in Beijing (PiB) programs for first cultivating his interest in China. A fluent Mandarin speaker, he was also the first Teaching Assistant of non-Chinese heritage for the Yale University Chinese Language Program. Kumar will join the US Foreign Service in 2020.
Yixin Ren is from Shanghai, China, and currently attends New York University Shanghai. As an undergraduate, Yixin has combined political science and art history and aims to work in international law, comparative justice, and legal reform. Previously, she worked with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s Shanghai Office to build a national digital archive of the infrastructure networks and financial institutions along the One Belt and One Road. Inspired by the large-scale impact that public policies can effectuate, Yixin seeks to integrate theoretical and empirical work on criminal justice to advocate for the application of restorative justice model in China’s juvenile justice policymaking. As we find ourselves at a political crossroads for rethinking inclusion over division and understanding over fear, Yixin is committed to promoting dialogue and fostering long-lasting relationships among future leaders in US-China affairs.