Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Meet the Hopkins-Nanjing Center's U.S.-China Exchange Scholars

 In honor of the HNC’s 30th anniversary, the HNC has created the U.S.-China Exchange Scholars Fellowship for alumni of U.S. government-supported programs for Chinese language study. These programs include, but are not limited, to the Critical Language Scholarship, Boren Award for International Study, Chinese Language Flagship Program, and the National Security Language Initiative for Youth.

We are pleased to introduce our first five U.S.-China Exchange Scholars for the 2017-2018 academic year who have studied Chinese through a number of U.S. government-supported programs. 

Emily Rivera
Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program (GPA)
HNC Certificate ‘18


Emily Rivera graduated from Hamilton College in 2016 with dual concentrations in Government and Chinese. The daughter of two first-generation Colombian immigrants, Emily grew up speaking both English and Spanish. Largely because of this, Emily developed a keen interest in intercultural dialogue at an early age and later began studying Chinese as a sophomore at Hamilton College.

After three semesters of in-class language training, Emily earned a Fulbright Hays Group Projects Abroad Program (GPA) Scholarship, which provided her the opportunity to attend the ACC Intensive Language & Culture Program at Beijing's Minzu University while at Hamilton College. While at Minzu University, Emily worked on a research paper chronicling China's wealth gap. Emily developed this research and deployed it into her Honors Chinese thesis at Hamilton College, titled: 中国“富二代”和“穷二代”现象之分析."

Emily chose the HNC to gain a well-rounded experience studying the economy and politics of China through intensive language immersion in an exclusively Chinese learning environment. She is very grateful for the opportunity to continue her studies as a U.S.-China Exchange Scholar at the HNC. Using lessons from the HNC, she hopes one day to add necessary value to the growth and success of U.S. relations abroad as a Foreign Service Officer. Originally from Miami, Florida, Emily currently lives in Honolulu, Hawai`i where she works as an AmeriCorps Advocate at the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i.

Landon Heid
Foreign Language Area Studies Scholarship (FLAS)
HNC Certificate ‘18


Landon Heid grew up in Midwest, where he attended the University of Missouri, obtaining degrees in Finance and Banking and Political Science.  In summer 2014, Landon had his first experience with China, spending a summer in Xiamen, China interning at a Fortune 500 company working in currency hedging.  Soon thereafter, Landon began studying Chinese and in 2017 earned a graduate degree in International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington D.C.

During summer 2016, Landon was awarded the Foreign Language Area Studies scholarship to study Chinese through the rigorous Princeton In Beijing program.  During the past year, Landon served as the Human Rights Desk Officer at the U.S. Department of State, where he had the opportunity to discuss U.S.-China policy at the National Security Council and prepare congressional testimony for the Secretary of State and Ambassador to China.  Landon was drawn to the HNC after his time working in China-policy circles, where he discovered many of the most dedicated and knowledgeable “China Hands” had graduated from the HNC.  Given the history, quality, and reputation of the HNC, Landon believes attending the Hopkins-Nanjing Center will be a real asset to his future career as a Foreign Service Officer.

Mary Leah Milnes
Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program
HNC Certificate ’18 /John Hopkins SAIS MA’19


Mary Leah Milnes first learned about the Hopkins-Nanjing Center while studying abroad in Beijing with CET Academic Programs as a college sophomore in fall of 2012. At the time, her Chinese was only good enough to recognize the characters for jianbing. However, she saw in the HNC and SAIS a unique opportunity to wed her interest in pursuing a career in foreign affairs and U.S.-China relations to long-term study of the country and language.

An aspiring China Hand, Mary Leah continued to pursue her study of Mandarin and her goal of graduate study at the HNC by studying Chinese intensively in Harbin with CET, majoring in Political Science (Comparative Politics) and Asian Studies at Vanderbilt University and completing the U.S. Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship Program at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou in 2014. Thanks to these efforts, she can confidently identify purveyors not only of jianbing but also of dongbei cai and the legendary Lanzhou Lamian.

After graduating, she interned at the National Committee on United States-China Relations and the Asia Society before working as a research analyst for fintech firm ValuePenguin's Asia division. Mary Leah looks forward to the next few years, which she will spend attaining a Certificate in China Studies from the HNC and an MA in Strategic Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS.


Stephanie Gruetze
National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Program
HNC Certificate ‘18

Stephanie Gruetze is from Belton, Missouri and first started learning Chinese during her senior year of high school through courses at the local community college. It was during this time she found out about NSLI-Y. Stephanie attended NSLI-Y’s Summer 2013 program in Chengdu, Sichuan where she fell in love with China and the Chinese language. During her undergraduate career at Truman State University, Stephanie continued to study Chinese and spent a year abroad in Nanchang, Jiangxi while pursuing her degree in Agriculture Science. At the HNC, Stephanie wants to continue to develop her Chinese skills before going on to hopefully pursue a career combining agriculture and Chinese.

Christian Flores
Chinese Language Flagship Program, CUNY Hunter College
Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program (GPA) Scholarship
Boren Fellowship for International Study
HNC MAIS ‘18


Studying Chinese became a passion for Christian since he first began to study the language in high school for four years. He remembers the welcoming atmosphere in the mornings at East-West School of International Studies in Queens, NY when he would enter the Chinese classroom and delve into pinyin, characters, sentence structures, calligraphy, and traditional Chinese music. The inspiration and support that he received from his two Chinese teachers reinforced the idea that he should go on to continue studying the language in college. At CUNY Hunter College, and as a part of the Chinese Language Flagship Program, Christian was able to further pursue his passion. If studying hours and hours of Chinese at Hunter was not enough, Christian was able to apply his knowledge of Chinese throughout his study abroad experiences in different parts of China. In the summer of 2012, Christian studied abroad with the International Chinese Language Program at National Taiwan University. In 2013, Christian was awarded the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad Scholarship to study and intern in Xi’an. Christian completed his capstone year at Tianjin Normal University, which culminated in his achievement of a level 3 on the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and earning a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language & Literature and Political Science.

Although Christian achieved advanced language proficiency after graduating college, he knew that his studies on China and the Chinese language were far from over. During his final semester at Hunter, Christian decided to apply to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (HNC) which offers a Master of Arts in International Studies while studying in Nanjing. After being awarded the Boren Fellowship, Christian made his decision to pursue graduate studies at the HNC. His strong interest in Chinese and politics led him to the right place that would deepen his studies on China. Christian has taken courses such as China’s Development and Environment, Sino-U.S. Relations, Financial Crises, and Ethnic Minorities in Chinese Society, all of which have provided him with a more well-rounded understanding of China. Christian did not only decide to study at the HNC because it is a repertoire for research on China, but also because it is a cross-cultural bridge for people from different backgrounds to engage in discourse and create mutual understanding. In his final year at the HNC, Christian hopes to complete his Master’s thesis on the potential of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank through a comparative study of China’s past investment ventures. Christian strongly believes that his journey of studying Chinese and China could not have been possible without the help and support provided by institutions as well as organizations such as the East-West School, the HNC, the Flagship Program, Fulbright, and Boren that sow the seeds for language study along with the fostering of global citizenship.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

2017 Nanjing City Dragon Boat Festival

During the Dragon Boat holiday in June, the HNC participated in Nanjing’s annual dragon boat race and held the annual end of the year barbecue at the HNC.  Levi Johnson, one of the members of the student committee (banwei), was instrumental in organizing the barbecue and also participated on the cheer team for the dragon boat festival. For this post, I have asked Levi share his memories from the photos of the Dragon Boat Festival weekend.

The Dragon Boat team competing in their festival race
Levi: First what comes to mind when I look at this photo from the race is teamwork and the team spirit of the HNC that was represented by the group. I see the preparation they put into that day. I see the workouts we had together, I see the sweat, the breakfast, the team meetings, the 油条 and pancakes, and I see the leadership of Mykael and Maguire. Most of all, I see the pride of representing the HNC. 

I remember the excitement of watching the team give their utmost effort to win those races and their excitement afterwards. They encouraged each other.  I see a particular story of one member who got hit in the face with a fish during the race. I remember Jake teaching the team how to row a paddle. Most people looked at him like it was obvious, but then realized how difficult it was in actual practice. By the time the race came, we had perfected it.


The cheer team performing at the barbecue
Levi: I remember the first time we got together to discuss this dance and how many initial ideas were tossed out. At the time, I remember kind of doubting myself. How in the world will this come together to be anything productive? How will we put something together that is beautiful to listen to and watch? There were so many different ideas, songs, and directions. I reflect on the importance of Taylor and Nathan in leading the way—Nathan put together the music by taking all the ideas and each person’s particular song interests and mixed them together. Every song was intended to solo out different people, so we would all have our moments to shine. He did a really good job of putting it together with Taylor. Taylor is an amazing dance teacher and encouraged us all to be ourselves and telling us it’s okay to mess up. She always said, “If you mess up, don’t worry. You just made your own solo.” She gave her utmost effort and was always so positive in helping us learn the routine.

I see a lot of teamwork, again. I remember the excitement of performing together. Everyone had their own flavor and their unique style of dance. None of us really had much dance experience at all, except for Taylor, and she really gave us confidence to perform well in a short time and to represent the HNC to our best ability.

End of the year barbecue
Levi: There was a great amount of preparation and hard put into the end-of-the-year barbecue by the four of us on the student committee (banwei) who planned the event. I’m also thankful for the administration’s help particularly in organizing it all. A lot of good conversations about the semester and plans for the summer were had over good food and good music. I feel professors and students alike enjoyed the break amidst pre-finals. It was time to relax and catch up and look forward to the summer and each of our coming plans.

The burgers and hot dogs, grilled by the grill masters, provided an experience in taste that is not natural to China but very familiar to many international students.  I believe overall it provided insight into the American barbecue experience to our Chinese classmates. I felt, for a little while, that I was in America with the smell of the charcoal on the grill and the feeling of summertime. We sat on the grass and listed to the band while others were played Frisbee on the lawn. It truly was a perfect way to cap off the Dragon Boat Festival weekend. It was great to see both Chinese and American students having a good time over delicious food.


Written by Tarela Osuobeni, Certificate '17

Thursday, June 15, 2017

2017 HNC Commencement

On June 9, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center held its thirty-first commencement to celebrate the hard work of the certificate and MAIS students. Congratulations to the HNC class of 2017!

This year the HNC was proud to host three alumni from the graduating class of 1995: Qi Kezhan, Josh Perlman, and Helen Yang. Graduates, professors, staff and assembled friends and family clearly enjoyed the sincere and meaningful stories that the speakers shared of their life at the HNC and how connections made at the HNC transformed their lives and careers.

Chinese Co-Director He Chengzhou
 The ceremony kicked off with opening remarks by Chinese Co-Director, He Chengzhou. He thanked the students for a great year and wished them luck for the future. Chinese Co-Director He and American Co-Director Davies then recognized the Class Committees from the fall and spring semesters for their hard work.

Josh Perlman delivering commencement address
Josh Perlman (HNC ’95), Managing Director at Branded Retail Tristate Holdings Limited, gave a commencement address reminding graduates of the many doors that have now been opened for them as new members of the HNC Alumni network. He also addressed the current global political climate and took the opportunity to discuss the importance of globalization, and how HNC graduates can use their unique education and deeper understanding of Sino-U.S. relations to create opportunities for growth and lead a world that is more “tolerant, peaceful, and prosperous.” Of course, Mr. Perlman also shared some anecdotes about life during his time as a student at the HNC where he met his wife, Yan Yunqing (HNC ’95)—his next-door neighbor on the third floor of the HNC residence hall.

Qi Kezhan delivering commencement address
Following Mr. Perlman, Qi Kezhan (HNC ’95), Chairman and CEO of Beijing Mountain Capital Group and Merger China Group gave a commencement address reflecting on his time at the HNC and urged students to seize opportunities that present themselves. He said that his time at the HNC changed his life, and the HNC is a place for broadening global points of view and eliminating discrimination. Not only did his time here enable him to learn and understand different cultures more deeply, but also to better understand the world and make him appreciate China even more.

Yang Zhong delivering congratulatory remarks
Yang Zhong, Nanjing University’s Senior Vice Chancellor, delivered congratulatory remarks to the students. He noted the great achievements of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center over the past thirty-one years, and reemphasized the pioneering value of the HNC to Sino-US relations. He stressed the value for the HNC to continue “to help the American people understand the real China, and to help Chinese people understand the real America.”


Lyu Xiaoyu, a Chinese MAIS student, and Joaquin Matek, an American MAIS student, delivered remarks in their target language to their peers. These speeches were well received and enjoyed by students, as they highlighted some of the most memorable moments from this past year at the HNC.

Below is a transcript of Lyu Xiaoyu’s speech:

“Fellow classmates, professors, distinguished guests, good afternoon! I’m Xiaoyu, a graduating master’s student. I feel deeply honored to deliver this speech on behalf of the graduating class of 2017. I also feel honored yet bemused about the fact that I am speaking in front of my family in a language they don’t even understand. Does that mean I can say whatever I want?

In the past year, many of us have developed deep friendships. However, today is the day for us to bid farewell to people who will always have a place in our hearts. I always find it fascinating to recall the first time I met someone when the time comes to say goodbye. Do you still remember what your friends were like when you first met them in September 2016? What brought you together? Maybe it was a group presentation or that first assignment in your target language; maybe you were roommates getting used to each other’s quirks. Perhaps you connected at the Halloween party when every one was at their spookiest, or the New Year’s Eve Celebration at Zifeng tower where the guys were dressed like Wall Street elites and the ladies like Oscar nominees. I know I won’t forget the BBQ. Eli, Jake, and Carlos were super hot that day grilling food for us under the sun. I will definitely endorse you guys on LinkedIn as grill masters. In addition, we had some great teams representing the HNC: a basketball team that had the ladies screaming, a dragon boat team that would make Admiral Zheng He proud, and of course our laladui, aka cheer squad champs. You guys did an awesome job creating connections between every HNCer.

Lyu Xiaoyu giving her speech
 The HNC is also a place for us to develop a keener perception of what is going on in the world. In the span
of two semesters, we have experienced an upheaval in global affairs: a dramatic transition in the White House, a failed gambit by the Italian prime minister, an impeachment in South Korea straight out of a Korean drama, and a dark horse victory in France. Every time we rack our brains to write a paper on these issues, we are not simply finishing a task for a grade. Instead, during the writing process, we think deeply about these problems, gradually sharpening our perception of the world. Such a mindset is of great significance, because as Francis Bacon once said: “Studies pass into and influence manners.” What we have learned and experienced at the HNC will be internalized into our value systems and personalities.

Today is the day to say goodbye. No more of Margie’s singing or Taylor’s dancing, no more boxing classes with Corey or Korean lessons with Tim. No more of Professor PAT’s contagious laugh, or Professor Joe’s endless weekly posts. Each of us is both driver and passenger on the bus of life. For the past year, we pulled over at a stop called the HNC and invited other passengers to get on our bus. Now is the time for those passengers to get off and continue driving their own buses. However, this isn’t the only bus stop in the journey of life. We will definitely keep in touch, and maybe even catch a ride on each other’s buses again. That is why this ceremony is called a “commencement”, since it is not just an ending, but also the beginning of something new. Thank you!”

This was followed by Joaquin Matek’s speech:

Joaquin Matek giving his speech
“尊敬的各位来宾、老师,亲爱的同学们:

大家好!我叫江泰宏,是今年硕士班的毕业生。
我觉得在中美中心念书是一种缘分。起初,我来中心的目的就是接受教育,但是当我回顾自己在中心的经历,我发现最珍贵的记忆不是我上过的课,读过的书或是学到的知识,而是,我在这里所遇到的人。

中心有很多我认为可以称之为君子的人。何谓君子?君子德才兼备,不分男女,不分种族,不分上下,也不分国籍。作为君子不在于你父母做了什么,而在于你做了什么,你要做什么。

中心的师生来自世界各地,因此,中心汇聚了不同的人生观,世界观,和价值观。价值观的不同未必会导致冲突,反而是促进我们真诚交流并且加深了解的绝佳机会。君子和而不同,我们不需要也不可能认同对方所有的意见,但我们应当下功夫去理解对方的立场。

在有些事情上,我们比较容易达成共识。比如说,我们都认为最好不要把崭新的白衬衫放进第一台洗衣机。然而,在其他一些事情上,我们未必会同意对方的看法。比如说,人生的意义究竟是什么,哪个政党值得支持,Bob Dylan的哪首歌最好听?每个人的想法都不一样,
不过,社会的精髓就在于多元化。如果人人思维一致,我们就会缺乏创造力,更谈不上和谐。

我不知道“放之四海而皆准”的价值观是否存在,但我个人认为,即使孔子所提倡的“忠恕”不是普适价值,那么至少它非常接近。不管我们认为做人的标准是什么,我们都该尽心为人;无论我们之间存在多大的差异,我们都该推己及人。我很感激有机会认识你们,向你们学习如何做人、做事。

同学们,我们即将各奔前程,开始人生的新一阶段。离别虽然有些感伤,但我们终将后会有期。毕竟我们的世界越来越小,我不知道我们会在哪里碰见,但我相信一定会的。

有一件事你们应该已经知道了,但我不妨再次提醒一下,那就是,你们都是美女帅哥!不仅如此,你们真的都有“两把刷子”,只要刻苦努力,一定能大有作为。千万别辜负了自己的潜力,要把它充分发挥出来,让这个世界更好一点。勿以善小而不为,要相信滴水成河、百川归海。你们都有自己的梦想,我祝愿你们坚持做君子,自强不息地为梦想而奋斗。  谢谢大家!”

Co-Director Davies delivering closing remarks

Finally, American Co-Director David Davies delivered closing remarks about the uniqueness of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and the important educational work that we do here every year. The Co-Directors and the commencement speakers then walked up on stage and began to give out the certificates and diplomas.



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

UNEP-UNIDO Workshop on Green Sustainable Industry in Nanjing

On May 10-11, the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) jointly held a workshop in Nanjing, China in order to develop a Green Industry Sustainable Progress (GISP) Index to be adopted within China, and potentially employed throughout the world.



Professor Roger Raufer, Energy, Resources, and Environment (ERE) Resident Professor at HNC, and Jiwoon Choi, an ERE Certificate/SAIS MA student, were invited to participate in the workshop. Professor Liu Beibei, who teaches at Nanjing University and HNC, was also invited to present her ongoing work on the development of sustainable industry indicators for Jiangsu province.

On the first day, participants reviewed a list of potential indicators UNIDO had initially compiled for Jiangsu province in China, as well as existing composite indexes and their methodologies (e.g. UN Human Development Index, UNEP Global Environmental Progress, UNIDO Competitive Industrial Performance, and the China Green Development Index). Subsequent sessions focused on discussing the pros and cons of each index, which methodology would be optimal for the GISP index, as well as how the lack of availability and quality of data might impact the quality of the index.

On the second day, participants discussed which variables should be included in the index, as well as what the appropriate aggregation method might be within the GISP index. Potential variables were divided into the three key dimensions associated with sustainable development: social, economic, and environmental.

Professor Raufer’s presentation focused on work he had done during his time at the UN’s Division for Sustainable Development in New York, as well as follow up work he performed for the IAEA in Vienna and UN ESCAP in Bangkok.  This traced the historical role that energy played in the original set of sustainable development indicators (only three indicators!); to an expanded set designed to help address national energy planning (30 indicators); to a specific focus on electrical power sector development within Asia (59 indicators).

Professor Liu presented her ongoing work on UNEP’s Global Economy Progress (GEP) measurements in Jiangsu Province. She showed how the GEP measured actual progress achieved relative to initial targets, and showed that Jiangsu’s GEP index for 2015 was 0.7521 (a score between 0 and 1 indicates that there has been partial progress, but that not all targets have been achieved. A score higher than 1 means all targets have been surpassed). She noted that at the current stage, it was more productive to compare different regions’ progress within Jiangsu, instead of comparing progress among provinces.

One key issue that emerged was whether the proposed GISP index should include a social variable (e.g. number of employees in the manufacturing sector), and if so, how it should be measured. As the day progressed, participants eventually settled on following an aggregation methodology more similar to UNEP’s GEP than the HDI, and proposed the development of an environmentally-adjusted manufacturing value added (MVA) indicator to reflect differences across various manufacturing sectors.

UNEP and UNIDO’s Nanjing workshop provided valuable lessons and insights into how “sustainable development” can be defined and measured, especially when applying the concept to a specific context—in this case, the industrial sector. The workshop also revealed the complexity of developing composite indexes, by showing how assumptions made at various levels (e.g. Are the data sources reliable? Are there differences in data collection methodologies? Is this indicator the best way to measure this variable?) could compromise the ultimate effectiveness of the index. The value of using indices (Is it to promote competition among the parties being measured? To bring attention to weak spots? To highlight model performers?) was also brought into question. Overall, the workshop induced productive comments from all participants involved touching upon all of these important topics. In the near future, we may look forward to the development of a robust GISP index that can steer our industries in a more sustainable direction.

Participants in the workshop included representatives from the University of British Columbia, the Beijing Institute of Technology, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Zhenjiang Environmental Protection Bureau, the China Quality Certification Center, and the Global Green Growth Institute.

Written by Jiwoon Choi, Certificate/SAIS MA student 

Jiwoon Choi is a Certificate/SAIS MA student concentrating in ERE, currently finishing her first year in Nanjing, China. She will be interning with the Energy Division of UN ESCAP this summer in Bangkok, Thailand, before joining SAIS DC in the fall for the MA portion of her program.