2016 Yenching Scholars
Maximilian Römer

Maximilian Römer

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Maximilian Römer is a German national who studied at Leiden University, where he majored in International Studies with concentrations in both East Asian Studies and Public Policy. In addition, he has gained multifaceted experiences in various countries working with the German parliament, the International Energy Agency, different NGOs, and on consultancy projects. Having spent a semester at the University of Hong Kong and also having volunteered in Taipei, Maximilian is excited to truly explore political and cultural processes in Chinese society. At the Yenching Academy he is specializing in Economics and Management, in order to deepen his expertise on trade issues related to the One Belt-One Road Initiative and its implications for Eurasia. He hopes that nurturing his linguistic abilities and understanding of China will enable him to further improve Sino-European relations in the future.

Laís Bueno Sachs

Laís Bueno Sachs

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Laís Bueno Sachs studied International Relations at the University of Brasília (UnB), Brazil. During her undergraduate course, she undertook an exchange program at Shanghai Fudan University, where she expanded her understanding of Chinese Foreign Policy, BRICS, and the New Development Bank created by this group. She also wrote several analyses about international conjuncture, especially about BRICS, China, Latin America and International Political Economy. Her undergraduate thesis was focused on Automotive Industries in Brazil and in Mexico and their impacts on these domestic economies. During her last semester at UnB, she worked as an intern at the Brazilian Government's Foreign Trade Chamber, where she could participate in the government’s policy making process related to imports and exports. She is particularly interested in Chinese Foreign Policy, Sino-South America Relations, Mercosur (Mercado Común del Sur), Chinese culture, International Negotiation, International Political Economy, and Foreign Trade. Her intended field of studies at the Yenching Academy is International Relations and Foreign Trade.


Ewoud De Sadeleer

Ewoud De Sadeleer

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Ewoud De Sadeleer is a Belgian national who completed his Master of Linguistics at KU Leuven. Before that, he completed his Bachelor in Philosophy with a minor in Dutch Language and Literature at the same institution. He was president of the Philosophy Student Association and was active in student representation as a member of the Student Council. He is particularly interested in the comparison between Chinese and Western Philosophy and China’s relation to the rest of the world.

Shamir Shehab

Shamir Shehab

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Shamir Shehab holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from North South University and graduated in May 2016 from Cornell University with a Master of Public Administration concentrating in Environmental Policy. In his capacity as a Graduate Resident Fellow, Shamir provided support for academic and leadership enrichment activities to undergraduate students, and he was also the Chair of Administration at Cornell International Affairs Forum. Shamir - a native to Bangladesh - founded the Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI) in 2009 with a mission to nurture the next generation of environmental leaders. He also worked for the Friendship NGO in its Solar Micro-Grid and Community-Based Water Treatment Plant projects to ensure electricity and drinking water supply to the people of remote island areas of Bangladesh affected by devastating cyclones AILA and SIDR. He has received a number of awards for his works including the Queen’s Young Leaders Award from Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II for his exceptional leadership in creating positive change in the society. As a Yenching Scholar, Shamir is studying Politics and International Relations to better understand China’s Foreign Policy and its role in an increasingly complex and interdependent world. China aspires to lead the clean tech innovations and promised to lower its CO2 emissions, so Shamir is interested in exploring how China is crafting its policies to balance between economic growth and industrialization, and pollution. He hopes to leverage his knowledge and understanding of China’s economic, political and governance system to become a mediator between China and the rest of the world, helping to facilitate the dialogues and negotiation around climate change and global environmental governance.

Miriam Shlimak

Miriam Shlimak

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Miri Shlimak is a 24 year old Tel Aviv University graduate of East Asian Studies and Art History. She has been studying, working and playing music in Beijing since the Spring of 2015. She previously worked at the press department of the Israeli Embassy. Miri had studied in various international schools for most of her childhood and early teenage years. During her studies, Miri discovered a great interest in linguistics. By twelve years old, she was already fluent in Russian, Hebrew and English, while beginning to study Spanish in school. When Miri finished her Israeli national service, she decided to follow her early childhood fascination with Chinese culture and language and applied for the department of East Asian Studies. During her second year of university, she achieved first prize in the local Chinese proficiency competition, Chinese Bridge 2014 (汉语桥). Following this, she participated in the international competition in China, where she placed in the top 30 amongst 200 students. Her bachelor's thesis was dedicated to finding the place of Chinese philosophy in the modern digital era. She also received the Dean's and Rector's certificate of excellence for her high academic achievements. As a result, she received two Confucius Institute scholarships and decided to enroll in Peking University. Miri is passionate about exploring new aspects of China through her future academic studies. Miri's fields of interest and studies include business management, international relations and a more intensive Chinese language study experience.

Luyolo Sijake

Luyolo Sijake

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Luyolo Sijake is from the Eastern Cape province in South Africa and is currently based in Beijing, China. He completed his undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Cape Town and, after working for about a year in the fields of trade and energy research focusing on the BRICS member countries, became a student at Peking University where he took a variety of courses including International Relations, Energy and Environmental Studies, Commercial Law, TV Production and Market Research, all as a Chinese language program. Luyolo is pursuing the Economics and Management concentration at the Yenching Academy. His connection with China began when he started studying Mandarin Chinese through a Confucius Institute in South Africa. He has now been studying Chinese for a total of between three and four years and has travelled to China several times for both work and study over the past few years. Apart from China’s fascinating language, culture and history, Luyolo is particularly intrigued by the more recent economic and political transformations that have taken place and the way in which these have led to the reshaping of China’s position on the world stage. He hopes to deepen his understanding in this area during his time at the Yenching Academy.

Rexroad Simons

Rexroad Simons

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Rexroad Simons studied international relations at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, with concentrations in East Asia and International Economic Development. Simons, who began studying Mandarin in first grade, spent fall of 2014 studying at Peking University in Beijing through Stanford's Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP). He is concentrating in Economics and Management at Yenching Academy. Rexroad served as a Stanford in Beijing Program Ambassador on campus from May 2015 to June 2016. In that role he helped manage and run programs designed to increase student enrollment in the program, and helped interview candidates for the Program Director position. Rexroad was also a member of the Stanford Alpine Ski Team and Stanford in Government. He also worked for Peakview Capital, the U.S. investment arm of the largest fund of funds (FOF) in China (Shengjing Group). Rexroad grew up in Medina, Minnesota, although he currently calls his parent’s ranch in Simms, Montana home.

Caitlin Spring

Caitlin Spring

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Caitlin Spring identifies as an intersectional feminist, and her commitment to feminism and feminist research is of the utmost importance to her academic career. After high school Caitlin started her undergraduate degree at The University of Cape Town, majoring in English Literature and Language and Philosophy. Aware of the strong Eurocentric focus of her undergraduate subjects, Caitlin was motivated to then pursue an Honours degree in Gender and Transformation, which she completed at the end of last year with a First Class Pass. The strong Afrocentric emphasis of the Gender Studies syllabus encouraged her to seek out as many culturally-rooted ways of thinking as possible - this was one of the main aspects of the Yenching Academy that attracted her to the master’s programme. Not only committed to academic pursuits, Caitlin is a passionate writer, exploring both creative prose and social justice issues. Caitlin has been fortunate enough to have had many of her articles published through both national and international, online and print, platforms. To further develop her writing skills, Caitlin undertook an Honors degree in Creative Writing at the University of The Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, which she completed before her departure to China. She is looking forward to attaining a more nuanced understanding of China’s influence on global politics and international relations, and is incredibly excited for her time in Beijing.

Nichakan Srichaiwan

Nichakan Srichaiwan

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Nichakan Srichaiwan graduated from Thammasat University Thailand, where she studied Political Science majoring in International Relations and Politics. In 2012, she interned in Shanghai at the Thai Trade Center, which is part of the Thai Ministry of Commerce. This internship led, after completing her bachelor’s degree, to being hired as an analyst in the Thai Trade Center in Shanghai. Since 2014, she has joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand as a diplomat assigned to the Political-Security Division, Department of ASEAN Affairs. Her professional experiences include working as an assistant to Thailand’s representative to the ASEAN-Russia Eminent Persons Group, and an assistant to Thailand’s Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. At Yenching Academy, she hopes to further pursue her interest in China’s Foreign Policy and Chinese History to further deepen friendly relations and cooperation between Thailand and China for the future.

Grzegorz Stec

Grzegorz Stec

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Grzegorz Stec is a Polish student who completed an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford, and was a recipient of the Jenkins Memorial Fund scholarship. His dissertation focused on the prospects of developing the '16+1' China-Central and Eastern Europe initiative. Before moving to the UK he graduated from three BA programmes at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow (International Relations, Far Eastern Studies, and Comparative Studies of Civilisations) and participated in a one-year-long language programme conducted by the Beijing Foreign Studies University (HSK 4 passed by the end of the programme). He pursued a graduate internship at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Beijing and cooperated with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute on some of its Chinese projects. Throughout the summer months of 2016 he pursued an internship at the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels. In his research he focused on the international relations and diplomacy of the PRC - particularly China-Visegrad Group relations. Moreover, he is also interested in the interconnection between language and culture, and human behaviour, especially in the context of intercultural dialogue. Hence, at the Yenching Academy he is pursuing the politics and international relations concentration, thereby combining his interests.