From Feb 20. to Feb 22., seven NYU Shanghai students attended the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit. The Summit, held annually at the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus, brings together 100 students from over 20 schools in the U.S., including Harvard, UC Berkeley, Yale and Columbia. In addition, two delegates from Wuhan University (武汉大学) will be attending the Summit each year, as a result of an agreement between Duke-UNC and Wuhan University. The conference is designed for students who are interested in the relationship between U.S. and China and are studying in the field of international relations. In addition to speaking to other interested students, delegates had the opportunity to attend seminars and lectures led by experts in Sino-U.S. relations, specifically, in the field of academia, business, government and social activism.

This year, students were also expected to identify specific issues in relation to the seminars, and come up with a potential solution. Each team had 90 minutes to develop a proposal and presentation to the rest of the Summit. NYU Shanghai freshman and attendee Annie Seaman’s proposal had to be centered around Sino-African relations. The issue that they chose to focus on was the African view that China is currently acting as a “neo-colonialist” power. NYU Shanghai sophomore students Alex Mayes and Roman Chen were both in winning groups.

The conference was commenced by Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University Aaron L. Friedberg, who spoke about the competition between the U.S. and China and about the “contest for supremacy”. On the Saturday, diversity on topics expanded to include Sino-North Korean relations and the Hong Kong Protests of 2013. The following day, students had the opportunity to attend seminars on international law and climate change.

For NYU Shanghai students, this was an opportunity to utilize their knowledge on China and connect with students from other U.S. universities. As Seaman states, “the conference was a great opportunity to connect with peers, from a variety of universities, who all share the same interest in China and US relations.”

Delegate and NYU Shanghai sophomore Noel Konagai described the way in which the conference affirmed his choice to study at a Sino-American school, such is NYU Shanghai.

“Listening to all the keynote speakers made me realize how lucky I am to study at NYU Shanghai, a liberal arts college in China. I can not only get to learn about China but also may directly contribute to the resolution of social, and other, issues in China.”

This article was written by Bella Farr. Send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit:  Duke University

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