2016 Yenching Scholars
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.

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.

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.