On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, the Yenching Academy of Peking University hosted a delegation of Embassy diplomats from Hungary, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia. The delegation from Central and Eastern European countries met with several Yenching Scholars to learn about their studies at the Academy.
Associate Dean Brent Haas delivered a brief introduction to the Academy. He detailed the nature of the Academy’s China Studies Program, the different research areas which gives it its interdisciplinary context, application requirements, and the scholarship coverage available to successful students.
More so, he explained that as a magnet for attracting young scholars and future global leaders and a catalyst for international dialogues, the Yenching Academy hosts scholars from all parts of the world who are genuinely interested in China as it transitions on the world stage. In this vein, Haas mentioned that the Academy had hosted 7 Scholars from 5 cohorts from Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary, and 4 Scholars across 4 cohorts from Macedonia, Serbia and Slovakia. Poland has had the most significant representation from the region, with 12 Scholars from 6 cohorts.
After this introduction, the scholars in attendance were welcomed to talk with the guests. Some of them, especially those from the 5th cohort, saw a familiar face at the event – Maria Wejs-Domzalska, First Counsellor of the Polish Embassy in China. She had accompanied the Polish Ambassador to China, Wojciech Zajaczkowski, to an event at the Yenching Academy in the Fall of 2019.
Likewise, other Scholars expressed their interests in the Central and Eastern European region and their joy to meet the representatives and launch relations with their future counterparts in diplomacy. According to Dickson Agbaji from Nigeria: “I am glad I met with the diplomats. It was an opportunity to expand my network and talk with leaders from Eastern and Central Europe about China’s engagements in the region. Moreover, the meeting kindled my interest to work in diplomacy in the future.”
At the end of the discussions, everyone in attendance took a group picture with the diplomats and bade them farewell as they departed the historic Jingyuan courtyard.