2016 Yenching Scholars
Ralph Alexander Hunt III

Ralph Alexander Hunt III

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Ralph Alexander Hunt III (commonly referred to as Tre) is from the United States and studied African Studies and East Asian Studies at Harvard University. His senior honors thesis focused on the relationship between China and Zimbabwe, and reasons as to why Zimbabwe decided to implement a "Look East" policy in the early 2000s. During college, Tre traveled extensively through sub-Saharan Africa and China, studying Mandarin Chinese along the way. His interests include the China-Africa relationship, foreign language acquisition theory, travel, and animation. At the Yenching Academy, he intends to deepen his understanding of the China-Africa relationship, and focus on the political, cultural, and economic ties that the two regions share.

Jiang Anji

Jiang Anji

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Jiang Anji has twice been named one of the “Top Ten Elites” of Wuhan University, where she majored in English. She was the youngest head of the Wuhan University TV Station and Vice-Chairman of the Student Union. She has interviewed celebrities, including Nobel Prize winners. She has participated in a forum on relations between major world powers, receiving recognition from the Central Government think tank. Jiang Anji has traveled Southwestern China to promote Wuhan University and has worked to coordinate cooperation between Wuhan University and Spanish universities. She has completed three research projects and hosted a Diplomatic Salon at her university. She was awarded First Prize in the National College TV Awards for programs that she personally designed and directed, and placed first in Wuhan University’s “Speak for the World Mock News Anchor Competition.” Anji was featured in a news piece that received 100 thousand views in its first day online. The story was picked up by dozens of media organizations, including Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily online. Anji’s goal is to devote herself to global governance.

Bulelani Jili

Bulelani Jili

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Bulelani Jili is a graduate of Wesleyan University, where he studied philosophy, history, government, and economics. He was a Pfeiffer Scholar, receiving a full scholarship awarded to one student based on academic excellence and leadership achievement. While at Wesleyan, he conducted research on post-apartheid education reform, democratic theory, political action, and political sociology. His honors thesis was particularly concerned with examining the structural features in democracy and American history that perpetuate inequality; moreover, it aimed at demonstrating the need for a civically inclined citizenry. Bulelani is also the founder of Middletown Potluck, an organization that was created in order to provide a platform for community members to break bread, converse, and establish partnerships to pursue social justice in the wider Middletown community. The Yenching Academy is an opportunity to help him serve South Africa and the world better. The opportunity to be in China with the Yenching Academy will greatly add to his understanding of politics and its ills, and essentially add to his ability to craft concrete public policy solutions, especially for a geopolitical landscape that is shifting towards China. He hopes to continue to apply his social science acumen to assess issues pertaining to governance and educational policies in China and South Africa.

Jing Hao Liong

Jing Hao Liong

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Originally from Penang, Malaysia, Jing Hao Liong spent four years in New York City studying Anthropology and Economics-Political Science at Columbia University. Jing intends to approach his study of China informed by his interests in postcolonial studies and queer theory, theoretical frameworks he finds useful for interrogating formations of power and subjectivities along the lines of race, empire, gender, and sexuality. At the Yenching Academy, he is pursuing a concentration in History and Archaeology in order to understand the historical conditions through which contemporary Chinese gender and sexual politics have emerged. Jing has previously lived in Shanghai and Dalian, and spent the summer of 2015 in Beijing interning at the Columbia Global Centers | East Asia.

Veeresh Kanduri

Veeresh Kanduri

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Veeresh Kanduri graduated in Development Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. He extensively studied ecological approaches to environmental sustainability and completed his thesis titled “Towards a methodology for Cumulative Impact Assessment”. He received his bachelor’s degree from Kakatiya University in Mechanical Engineering. Veeresh has been actively involved in student union elections and served as a General Secretary during his undergraduate studies and as a Literary Secretary during his graduate studies. In his capacity as the Literary Secretary, Veeresh initiated a Literature Festival, which featured personalities from various spectra of everyday life. Veeresh also volunteered at length in the recent Nepal earthquake disaster and worked with the community to construct 200 shelters in 3 months. His focus at the Yenching Academy is on the environmental politics of developing nations and the role of civil societies in sustainable development.

Harriet Kariuki

Harriet Kariuki

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Harriet Kariuki was born and raised in Kenya, and graduated from Harvard where she studied Government and East Asian Studies with a Korean language citation. Previously, she interned with the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs' China Desk and conducted comparative research on Japanese and Chinese foreign aid in East Africa. At the Yenching Academy, Harriet will pursue her interests in Chinese foreign policy, with a focus on Sino-African diplomatic and foreign relations.

Nishat Kazmi

Nishat Kazmi

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Nishat Kazmi is from Pakistan and worked as a Research Associate at the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), an Islamabad based think-tank. His work with CRSS focused on regional security and bilateral cooperation issues between Afghanistan and Pakistan, as part of a major track II initiative.  Kazmi has also worked as an advisor with the Institute for Environmental Security (IES), headquartered in The Hague. During his association with IES, he contributed to The Hague Environmental Law Clinic project. He has also been a key member of the Bureau of Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change, a network which brings together serving and retired military officers from around the world to promote actions that help counter the adverse impacts of climate change. During January-February 2016, Kazmi was based at The Hiroshima Peacebuilders Center in Japan on a fellowship focusing on peace-building, development, and international institutions. Previously, he has worked at the Pakistan office of Heinrich Boell Stiftung, the German Green Political Foundation, and the Embassy of Pakistan in The Netherlands.  Nishat holds a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree from Punjab University, Pakistan, and an LLM from Maastricht University, The Netherlands, where he specialized in international and European economic law. He has received several awards including the Heinrich Boell Fellowship at Philipps University Marburg, Germany, and the Huygens Scholarship of the Government of the Netherlands. At the Yenching Academy, he is specializing in Public Policy and International Affairs. His areas of interests include Chinese foreign and trade policies, and China’s role in the United Nations, particularly the issues of peace-building and sustainable development.

Mohnish Kedia

Mohnish Kedia

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Mohnish Kedia is Indian by citizenship and an economics graduate of the University of Cambridge. Before arriving in Cambridge, he did his undergraduate degree in economics at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. His area of research primarily focused on public policy with a special interest in education and healthcare. As an undergraduate student, he has worked with the Indian Statistical Institute and the Government of Bihar on projects focusing on law and order, corruption, etc. As a scholar at the Yenching Academy, Mohnish is focusing on the economy of China, with a special interest in the urbanization and structural transformation of China. Apart from his interest in China as a scholar of economics, Mohnish’s interest in China grew as a result of deep friendship with his colleagues from China at Cambridge. He believes that studying in China will give him new insights on human nature, culture, society and norms. Mohnish strongly believes in the Indian culture of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, which means ‘the world is one family,’ and aspires to spread this message to his fellow world citizens.

Kristen Kelly

Kristen Kelly

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Kristen Kelly majored in Urban Studies and English and minored in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in May. Her honors thesis focused on historic preservation and the adaptive reuse of sacred spaces in Philadelphia. As a multiracial Chinese-American, Kristen has also been devoted to research about Chinese immigration and community development patterns in the United States. At the Yenching Academy, Kristen is pursuing a concentration in History and Archeology. She looks forward to learning more about her Chinese heritage and culture while living in Beijing.

Sam Khabir

Sam Khabir

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Sam Khabir is trained in architecture, urban design and spatial planning. He graduated with distinction with a European Postgraduate Masters in Urbanism (KU Leuven, IUAV Venezia, TU Delft and UPC Barcelona) in 2013. His research interests are mainly grounded in the economic, social and spatial dynamics of urbanization in East & South-East Asia with a particular focus on the Chinese context. He has spent a significant amount of time in various regions of China since 2012, understanding the ground realities of urban development in the country. In his master’s thesis, Sam addressed the profound challenges to the sustainable development of Southeast Asian cities in the 21st century, and through a research-by-design approach, proposed resilient urbanism as an alternative to the current trends. As a designer and planner, he has been involved in a number of urban projects and acquired extensive experience in different contexts through international urban design studios and workshops across North America, Europe and East Asia. He completed his second Master’s in International Business, Economics and Management at KU Leuven (Belgium), before joining the Yenching Academy in September 2016. Also an international delegate to the inaugural Yenching Global Symposium, Sam is looking forward to returning to the Academy to further explore the consumption cultures of contemporary urban spaces in modern China and to continue his studies at the Ph.D. level.