2023-2024 Samuel “Sandy” R. Berger Memorial Fellowship Awards Ceremony Held

The Berger Memorial Fellowship was created to honor the life and legacy of the late Honorable Sandy Berger, National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton, who was committed to balancing competition with collaboration between the United States and China, even when obstacles seemed insurmountable. Two students from the School of International Studies (SIS)at Peking University are awarded the Berger Fellowship each year after a competitive process, to support research on a topic related to international relations.

The October ceremony was emceed by Wang Dong, Professor and Executive Director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU) at Peking University. In opening remarks, Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, president of the US-China Education Trust, congratulated the fellows, and highlighted the importance of Presidents Xi and Biden’s summit on the sidelines of the APEC Summit last fall, when President Xi invited 50,000 American students to study in China over the next five years. “Fellowships like the Sandy Berger awards are more important than ever,” she said. “America and China need experts to steward the most important bilateral relationship in the 21st Century. USCET is proud to be associated with this fellowship.”

JIA Qingguo, Professor at the SIS and Director of the iGCU at Peking University, congratulated the fellows for their outstanding work. He noted the recent progress the US and China have been making, with both sides establishing senior-level working groups to discuss financial matters, foreign affairs, arms control, nonproliferation, and climate change. The relationship, he said, faces many difficulties and an ideological divide that is still difficult to bridge, but “As responsible citizens, we all have the responsibility to make our relationship work,” he said.

Dr. Robert A Kapp, former President of the US-China Business Council and Senior Advisor to USCET, announced the 2023-2024 Fellowship Awards and encouraged the new Berger Fellow to be mindful of the complexities of current US society as they study American public opinions. He thanked the Berger Family for their generous support and the USCET team for their leadership and work.

Next, the incoming 2023 Berger Fellows and the outgoing 2022 Fellows each gave a short presentation on their research projects.

2023 Berger Fellow CHEN Han, a PhD candidate at Peking University studying international relations, discussed her research on the origins of the New Left political movement in the US, which was influenced by Pres. Kennedy’s New Frontier and Pres. Johnson’s Great Society. In 2023, she participated in the George H.W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations’ 2023 X-Gen Dialogue in Washington, DC on US-China relations across different generations.

2023 Berger Fellow YUAN Ruichen, a doctoral student at Peking University’s Department of International Politics, introduced his research about the decoupling of the American and Chinese economies and its impact on third countries in the global production network. He will use the Berger Fellowship to participate in academic exchanges, attend conferences, and access comprehensive data sets relating to his research.

2022 Berger Fellow YI Duo, a doctoral student and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University updated the Fellowship Committee on her research about how “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy” is presented in English language media and its impact on the strategic narrative of US-China relations.

2022 Berger Fellow XU Gao, a Ph.D. candidate at the School of International Studies, shared a summary of her research on Sino-US relations during the 20th Century, especially the Progressive era when President Woodrow Wilson’s Open Door Policy stimulated unprecedented ideological and cultural exchange between the two countries.

Prof. Wang Dong provided expert feedback on the students’ research proposals.

In her concluding remarks, Mrs. Susan Berger, wife of the late Honorable Sandy Berger, said that she was impressed with the Fellows’ work, and delighted that the Sandy Berger Memorial Fellowship provided important support for their research.

Read interviews with some of our previous Sandy Berger Memorial Fellows here.