Note: this piece was written by Emily Feng, President of Duke East Asia Nexus and co-director of the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit
In 2010, a handful of Duke and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) students got together with a common idea in mind. They had noticed that despite the abundant presence of resources, interest, and expertise on Sino-US relations and East Asian studies in the Triangle Area, there didn’t exist a student platform to connect interested parties. They decided to take matters into their own hands and start a conference called the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit that focused on bringing experts and students in US-China relations together.
Now nearly four years later, the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit has quickly grown from being a small, local conference between Duke and UNC students and speakers into an international conference capped at 120 delegates from all over the United States and China. Although young, the conference has attracted prestigious speakers and attention (CLS featured in Forbes College Frenemies). Previous speakers include Thomas Christensen, who formerly served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Bush administration, Yukon Huang, former country director for the World Bank in China, Han Dongfang, labor activist and founder of Hong Kong’s China Labor Bulletin, and Thomas Fingar, former head of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research under the Department of State.
This year, the China Leadership Summit looks to make further strides in offering both undergraduate and graduate students a fresh look at both emerging and well-recognized voices on China issues. All events are held at top of the line facilities at Duke and UNC, with a reception dinner March 28, 2014 at the R. Thomas Conference Center in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business to kick off the three day conference.
We are also very excited to welcome an impressive line up of speakers. This year’s include Rachel Wasser, co-founder of Teach for China, David Shambaugh, a noted academic at the Elliott School and the Brookings Institute, commentator and analyst Damien Ma, Jenny Chan, a Hong Kong-based labor activist, and Tea Leaf Nation co-founder David Wertime. A complete roster of speakers will be announced at the end of January on our website, dukeunccls.com.
And of course, the strength of the conference rides each year on the strength of its delegates. Last year’s delegates came from 21 schools from the US and China. All of them were demonstrated leaders in defining and improving Sino-US relations and China studies. What the China Leadership Summit offers, in addition to other student conferences like HPAIR and FACES, is the chance to put thought into action. We aim to foster leadership, as our name implies, through discussing new knowledge and forming valuable relationships among similarly ambitious people.
I encourage anyone with interest or experience in East Asia to apply and become part of a fast-growing conference in the American south and a robust network of past attendees. Applications can be found at dukeunccls.com. All applications are due February 1, 2014, with a second round of interviews beginning February 7. I hope to see you in North Carolina in a few months time!
Emily Feng is a junior at Duke University and co-director of the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the conference, please visit dukeunccls.com.