Born and raised in United States, Mason Ji learned to speak, read, and write Chinese at a native level at a young age and, thus, was simultaneously exposed to the disparate worlds of the US and China. In 2012, Ji won first place in the International Chinese Knowledge Competition and with it, an opportunity to meet then Vice-President Xi Jinping. This was a formative event for Ji since he realized that he could take advantage of his bilingual background to help bridge the cultural gap between the US and China. With this inspiration, Mason began his career at Yale, where he currently studies Global Affairs and Political Science, with a concentration on East-West relations and multilateral affairs.
Ji has worked at the United Nations throughout his time at Yale, where he serves as a delegate to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and as an adviser to the Republic of Seychelles delegation. At the UN, his main focus has been in helping to foster greater consensus-building and cooperation on the issues of climate change, nuclear disarmament, and human rights negotiations. His main contribution to US-China relations so far has been on the multilateral stage, where he serves as a mediator concentrating on US-China affairs. In addition to his general duties at the UNGA, Mason is also a delegate to the UN working group on the Law of the Sea and Continental Shelf Preservation, where his work has helped foster understanding. Mason’s experience is wide-ranging: he was the first Yale student to directly enroll in Peking University, and during his time abroad in China, he implemented a UN comprehensive waste management system in Haidian District, Beijing.
In the future, Mason aspires to become an American diplomat who helps in the development of better foreign policy that will aid China’s integration into the existing world order. He believes that one of the largest pitfalls confronting US foreign policymaking is the lack of comprehensive understanding for other nation’s narratives–why they think and approach issues in the way they do. Mason hopes to improve US foreign policy by creating an environment in which policymakers are more cognizant of Chinese perspectives, which would, in turn, help the two nations take steps towards future cooperation on global issues.