Update on Inaugural Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch Fellows in Asian Studies

The F.Y. Chang Foundation/US-China Education Trust launched an online mentorship program for the inaugural 2023 cohort of the Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch Fellows in Asian Studies on Monday, March 25th. 

These fellowships aim to nurture the next generation of Asian specialists and leaders in the United States through fostering student research on Asia, with an emphasis on China.

Ambassador Bloch used her six-decade career in government service and international affairs as a backdrop to engage the fellows in dialogue, providing suggestions on study and career goals and challenges. The fellows shared their interests and discussed their projects supported by the fellowship awards.  Here are brief descriptions of each fellow’s project:

University of California, Berkeley

Jalene Chok‘s project probes the construction and manifestation of national identity in contemporary Taiwanese society. The research includes qualitative interviews and seeks to answer the following questions: What are the various forms of national identity that exist in Taiwanese society today? What factors contribute to the diversity of identities? And what are the societal implications of having a fractured and ambiguous identity?

Luca Zislin‘s project examines NATO’s role in shaping the Asian-Pacific security landscape, focusing on the  2022 Strategic Concept, the decision to invite Indo-Pacific Partners to the Madrid and Vilnius Summits, and the Tokyo Liaison Office debacle. The research investigates the dynamics of security alliance politics and the wider geopolitical implications of NATO’s evolving stance towards China.

University of Miami

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Skylar Bentlin‘s project reviews the impact of China’s geopolitical strategy in Africa on regional dynamics and the response of the United States. The research examines China’s strategic and economic involvement in Africa, U.S. perceptions of China’s influence in Africa, as well as competition and cooperation in Africa between the two countries. This leads to the question of whether China seeks to become the dominant power in the African continent.

Nolan Dietz Velarde‘s project focuses on the influence of environmental NGOs in shaping U.S.-China bilateral environmental policies and collaborations over the past five years. Using textual analysis, interviews, and virtual meetings, this research uncovers how these organizations’ strategies, campaigns, and diplomacy efforts have impacted the environmental dialogue between the two largest global economies. The goal is to provide actionable insights that can enhance future NGO-government partnerships, contributing to more effective and sustainable environmental governance.

Click here to learn more about the Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch Fellowships in Asian Studies!