YCAers Meet Industry Big Names, Get Opportunity to Improve their Career Prospects

On March 10, the Professional and Leadership Mentor Program 2022 kicked off at the Yenching Academy, with YCA Dean Prof. Dong Qiang, Associate Deans Prof. Fan Shiming and Associate Prof. Brent Haas, and seven high-profile individuals from different sectors meeting our Scholars online.

Prof. Fan Shiming introduced the Professional and Leadership Mentors in his opening remarks, extending gratitude for this year’s program on behalf of the Academy. He thanked the Professional and Leadership Mentors for contributing to the Academy’s development by mentoring Yenching Scholars, tapping into their expertise gained through years of working in their sectors. Our fellows are selected and placed with the experts, under whose guidance they will accomplish multiple tasks, broaden their career horizons, and gain practical experience.

Prof. Dong Qiang expressed his goodwill and gratitude to the Professional and Leadership Mentors. Dean Dong stressed that the Professional and Leadership Mentor Program would help Yenching Scholars effectively understand Chinese society and corporate culture, adding to the vision of the Academy of providing an international platform rooted in Chinese culture and society and serving as a link between China and the world. He noted his belief that Scholars can view different sectors, see diverse facades of Chinese society, and obtain better intercultural communication skills under the Professional and Leadership Mentors' guidance.

The seven Professional and Leadership Mentors introduced themselves and expressed their good wishes for the Program. They include:

An Fengshan, New Hope Group’s Chief Brand Officer (CBO), former deputy head and spokesman of the Information Bureau of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. Mr. An noted that he found his career path and personal experience in business management aligned with the YCA’s emphasis on interdisciplinarity and interculturality, adding his willingness to mentor Yenching Scholars in their career through internships, visits, and experience sharing workshops.

Chen Taiyong, founder, vice chair, Legal representative, and executive director of Sichuan Haihui Poverty Alleviation Center. For decades, Mr. Chen has devoted himself to rural industrial revitalization, the battle for poverty reduction, and international NGOs. He expressed his willingness to shed light on the career trajectory of those interested in China’s rural industrial development.

Winston Chen, executive vice president and head of public affairs for Edelman China. A veteran in the media and public affairs sector, Mr. Chen was thrilled to be a YCA Career Advisor, reiterating his readiness to give suggestions and opportunities to our Scholars who have a career interest in the field.

Qiu Lili, co-founder of Peaceland Foundation and Beijing AngelMom Charity Foundation. Also a co-founder of Blue Sky Rescue, Ms. Qiu shared her desire to invite our Scholars to consider the broader world of international humanitarian rescue and protection of women’s and children’s rights and interests.

Wang Dejun, director of the Yunju Temple Cultural Heritage Administration. Mr. Wang has worked in the field of cultural heritage preservation and management for a decade. He stated his excitement at being a YCA career Advisor and invited our Scholars to the Yunju Temple in Fangshan District to savor the Chinese culture it represents and make the temple known to more.

Zhou Jiangong, the founder of Weijin Research, former CEO of China Business Network and former vice president of Envision Energy. Mr. Zhou’s career extends across many sectors. A veteran in China’s new energy sector, Mr. Zhou hopes that with his role, our Scholars will know more about climate change and China’s efforts to attain carbon neutrality.

Wang Tun, director of the Institute of Care-Life (ICL). Mr. Wang is an expert in multi-hazard early warning and a veteran in the field of startups and government relations. Mr. Wang noted his familiarity with YCA over the years because the Institute has had several visits from Yenching Scholars during the Academy’s field trip in Chengdu.

With rich personal and career experiences, the Professional and Leadership Mentors are notable figures in their sectors and stand as models for our Scholars.

Two Scholars from the 2021 Cohort shared what they expected from the Program. Ivo Walinga from the Netherlands has a keen interest in international relations and diplomacy. Although he has learned Chinese history and diplomatic theories in textbooks and gained inspiring impressions from personal experiences, Ivo expressed that he wants to learn how to get his ideas materialized from the Professional and Leadership Mentors.

Feng Huidi from China noted her deep fascination with Ms. Qiu’s experiences shared during a career development session last semester. In Ms. Qiu’s lecture, Feng got closer to the tense yet inspiring actions and scenes of humanitarian rescue. She hopes to know more about the work of protecting women’s and children’s rights and interests through the Professional and Leadership Mentor Program.

The Professional and Leadership Mentors were placed in break-out rooms to discuss and familiarize themselves with our Scholars.

Professional and Leadership Mentor Program

The Yenching Academy established the Professional and Leadership Mentor Program as a platform to connect our current students with and receive support from PKU alumni and industrial insiders. Via the Program, the Academy enhances Yenching Scholars’ career prospects and improves their professional skills by engaging in China Studies in practice. Likewise, the Program stands as a channel through which industrial insiders contribute to education and industry, and the university, research institutions, and the private sector enter into collaborations.

The Academy invites notable figures from different sectors every year as Professional and Leadership Mentors to help Yenching Scholars enhance their career prospects and assist them in career planning. The program is an opportunity for our current Scholars to communicate with senior professionals, delve deeper into their sector of interest, hone their professional and practical skills, and broaden their horizons. Through the works, experiences, and guidance of the career models, our Scholars will see clearly what they want to be in the future.

Under the Professional and Leadership Mentor Program, the Academy organizes dialogs, seminars, onsite visits, recommended internships, guided projects or surveys, and shadow exercises.

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