Asma Bachikhread bio
Asma Bachikh, originally from Morocco, holds a Master’s degree in International Commerce and is an alumna of the Global Business Institute at Indiana University. Asma’s passion for entrepreneurship and the environment inspired her to drive many projects and initiatives in France, Malaysia and Morocco, for which she has received recognition. In April 2015 Asma was elected as President of the World Youth Parliament, which advocates for youth participation in decision making in the water sector. Asma has worked in international organisations across a variety of sectors, from developing quality education in Sub-Saharan Africa to freedom of speech and media in the MENA region. However, Asma found her true passion in the water sector, and is currently a consultant for leading water institutions, focusing on developing their civic engagement, with a special focus on youth strategies. She also sits on the board of the International Secretariat for Water, and has an observer status as part of the Global Water Partnership's Steering Committee.
Sonya Ruth Cottonread bio
Sonya was born in the United States of America, grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and has also lived in Finland and China. Her previous academic background is in African languages (namely Xhosa) and linguistics. Currently she is completing a Master’s in Philosophy in Law at the University of Cape Town. In her thesis she focuses on 'silence' as a discursive technique in African legislation, with emphasis on the contradiction that arises when women in customary marriages are excluded from constitutional commitments to gender equality. Sonya's research interests include linguistic ideologies, legal pluralism and legal-anthropology - or, simply put, the intersection of language, law and culture. As a Yenching scholar, she intends to specialise in Chinese Law and Society, and to continue learning Mandarin beyond HSK level 5, which she has already attained. She aspires to engage in socio-legal research involving Sino-African migration from the perspective of individuals whose experiences are often overlooked in macro-level studies that focus on state actors and multinational corporations. Almost as much as she loves learning languages, Sonya enjoys exploring the creative manners in which people interpret and engage with legal language. She believes that applying linguistic approaches to legal subject matter represents a powerful analytic tool, as well as a mechanism for ensuring multiple voices are heard.
Yohannes Ayalew Hailemicaelread bio
Yohannes Hailemicael was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is a diligent graduate from Addis Ababa University with a Bachelor’s of Animal Science. Yohannes has been actively involved in student initiatives on campus as well as voluntary community services at different non-governmental organizations. He is currently living in Turkey and is fluent in Turkish. At the Yenching Academy, he will pursue Politics and International Relations where he will be focusing on Sino-African relations. His key research interest is China's development policies in Ethiopia and its future. He also hopes to learn and have a better understanding of Chinese language, culture and life style. After completing his Master’s, Yohannes plans to pursue a PhD in his concentration and start a career.
Bulelani Jiliread bio
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.
Harriet Kariukiread bio
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.
Santana Muthoniread bio
Santana Muthoni completed a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, with a concentration in Diplomacy and Foreign policy, at the United States International University-Africa. Born and raised in Kenya, Santana is an aspiring diplomat with an interest in fostering global peace and development through cross-cultural education for mutual understanding. This has been fueled by the leadership roles she has held while at her university, where she also served as President of AIESEC in USIU-Africa until December 2015. While at the Yenching Academy, Santana’s academic focus will be on Politics and International Relations and she will be exploring China’s foreign policy and its impact on Sino-Africa relations, by gaining a deeper understanding of Chinese politics and society. She is also looking forward to developing her Mandarin language skills while at the Academy.
Joel Odotaread bio
Joel Odota is a 26-year old Ugandan man, currently residing in Lamwo district, Northern Uganda, which is just recovering from war. He has a Bachelor's degree of arts with education (Geography and history majors) from Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda (2011-2014). Joel went to Padibe Girls' Primary school (1998-2004) during the Northern Uganda war and later joined Kitgum High School (2005-2010) in Kitgum, Northern Uganda for both levels of secondary school. He was the best high school student in northern Uganda class of 2010, leading to the award of a 3-year undergraduate course at Makerere University by Government of Uganda. In 2016, Joel was selected to represent Ugandan youth in a 3-month leadership course in Nairobi, Kenya by Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI. As a former refugee, young leader, activist, change maker and teacher, Joel is so honored to pursue a Master’s in Politics and International Relations at the Yenching Academy. He is passionate about leveraging change in the leadership spectrum of Uganda and Africa at large as the leadership gap is the root cause of political, social and economic unrest in the world today. He believes that China is a role model both politically, socially and economically as evidenced by the thriving economy of the nation, hospitality, high level of respect to one another, foreign aid to war ravaged economies of the world and the high levels of technology in the country. His major focus and area of research is on "Youth at the forefront of change”.
Stephanie Oduro-Mensahread bio
Stephanie Oduro-Mensah is a Ghanaian who worked as a Teaching Assistant in the University of Ghana’s Chinese Department. She is also a student of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA, UK) where she has already earned an Advance Diploma in Accounting and Business. She was awarded the Confucius Scholarship to study Chinese language and culture at Zhejiang University of Technology in the 2013-2014 academic year and graduated from University of Ghana in 2015 with a B.A. in Chinese and Political Science. Stephanie is passionate about voluntarily serving in community development projects such as project GreenStamp, which saw her operate in Marrakech, Morocco, in December 2012 as well as project ExploreChina in January 2014 in Suzhou, China. Stephanie’s interest in China-African cooperation informed her decision to pursue Politics and International Relations at the Yenching Academy. She intends to focus on ‘The New Face of China-Africa Relations.”
Franklin Mensah Sarpongread bio
Born, raised, and currently residing in Ghana, Franklin Mensah Sarpong studied visual art at Prempeh College, and went on to graduate from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Upon graduation, he worked as a field officer on a multidisciplinary trauma research project led by researchers from the University of Cincinnati, USA and Komfo Anokye (Ghana’s teaching hospital). Franklin also served as a National Service staff in the Biostatistics Department at Komfo Anokye. During his second year at KNUST, he was introduced to currency trading, stock brokerage and import trading. Starting an import business that mainly dealt with China, he developed a strong interest in China’s governance, and policy making and how they affect trade and business. Franklin intends to study Politics and International relations - the key factors in the building of an economy. Franklin hopes that his studies at the Yenching Academy will deepen his basic knowledge of China’s governance system, policy making, position on trade and business, and how these policies impact the development of China and Africa’s relations.
Luyolo Sijakeread bio
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.