Delegation of Kraft Global Fellows Program from Columbia University Visits Yenching Academy


On Friday 25 May, Ms. Jewelnel Davis, University Chaplain, Associate Provost and Director of the Earl Hall Center at Columbia University, and Program Officer of Columbia Global Centers | Beijing, led a delegation of Kraft Global Fellows from Columbia University to visit the Yenching Academy to learn more about the program and its Scholars. They were hosted by Associate Dean David Moser and a number of students from both the second and third cohorts.

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The Kraft Global Fellowship was started and funded by Robert Kraft to enable and encourage cross-cultural understanding. Robert Kraft believed that learning about other cultures and people didn’t come from studying in lectures but from experiencing the world firsthand. The thinking behind Fellows’ visit to China was that China is a critical partner for much of the world, so even a small exposure to China, its people, and culture might be beneficial to the Fellows.

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It was this thinking that also guided many of the Yenching Scholars’ decisions to come study in China at the Yenching Academy, as the Scholars present explained. The Scholars introduced themselves, the backgrounds and their journeys and interests at the Yenching Academy, and some of their experiences thus far in China. This allowed the Scholars to share more about the YCA community, the diversity of the program, the strengths of the program, as well as its areas for improvement.

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The Scholar went further to share specifics about different opportunities that they became involved with when they came to China, such as the Yenching Social Innovation Forum (YSIF) and how the program foster innovation ideas, the autonomy of the Yenching Global Symposium (YGS) and the calibre of both its guests and participants, to broader topics of conversation such as how their perspectives of China have changed since being in China.

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Finally, students from both sides shared their stories of campus activities and cross culture communication experiences. Jeffery Honghao Niu concluded, “As the world needs bridge-builders, and Yenching Academy program is an interactive platform to build bridges between China and the rest of the world.”

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by Alix Lewis