Introducing the 2018-19 Yenching Academy Graduate Student Union Executive Committee

An enterprising group of 1st cohort scholars founded the Yenching Academy Graduate Student Union (YCA GSU), of which all degree-pursuing Yenching Scholars are members, in 2016. In the intervening years, the annually elected, six-member GSU Executive Committee has represented the Yenching student body and worked to further its interests. The Yenching GSU operates in coordination with the Peking University Graduate Student Union.

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The 2018-2019 Executive Committee—the first to claim members from two cohorts—consists of four fourth cohort Scholars and two third cohort Scholars. The Executive Committee is led by President Miles U. Graham '19 (United States) and Vice-President Wang Dong '20 (People's Republic of China). The pair are supported by Director of Academic Affairs Liang Kun '20 (People's Republic of China), Director of Events Elif Yildirim '20 (Turkey), Director of Operations Abdul Rahim Lema '20 (Benin), and Director of Public Relations Minjoo Noh '19 (Republic of Korea).

Together, this team, working in tandem with the Yenching Academy student body, faculty, and staff, will do its utmost to serve the student body and better the program as a whole over the course of the coming year. As the new EC kicks off its tenure, President Miles U. Graham addresses Academy alumni in the attached letter.

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Dear Yenching Academy Alumni,

While I have not yet met all of you, I have had many chances to realize that the Yenching community transcends the particular times at which each of us first stepped foot on campus. In this spirit, I first write to you as a friend and fellow Yenchinger, and second as the elected representative of the current student body. I hope that, on reading this letter, you take a moment to reflect on the time you spent on the Beida campus—the friendships made, the myriad joys and frustrations that punctuate all valuable experiences, and the Yenching memories that have continued to shape you as you spread out across the globe. Perhaps you will also take the time to plan a return visit—the student body, faculty, and staff have been overjoyed to host a number of alumni on campus over the past few months, and we all look forward to further visits in the near future.

These alumni visits have tied into the work of the Graduate Student Union, as we recently hosted a 1st-cohorter at our first student-only Town Hall of the year, aimed at gathering thoughts on how the GSU can best represent the interests of the student body, and how the GSU can best work with the Academy administration to develop and improve upon Yenching's already strong foundation. This foundation is solid in large part thanks to the hard work and care all of you put into pushing the Academy to new heights during your own on-campus tenures, and we owe you thanks for giving us a chance to stand on your shoulders.

As we approach the Academy's 5th anniversary, there is no better time to consider how, as a community of students and alumni, we want the Academy to grow in the coming five years. What are our core principles? Where have we not realized our full potential? How can we make positive change happen within Yenching—and how can we give back to the broader Beida, and Beijing, community? These are the sorts of questions that are on our minds as we watch the leaves fall on the Jingyuan quad and ponder the fact that we are nearly halfway through another Yenching year. The above are also questions that will very much benefit from your input. As alumni, you know best where we have been—and, as such, you are uniquely equipped to chart our future course.

The Yenching Community writ-large, and the new GSU Executive Committee, hope you will join in the conversation about our next chapter—whether in person, or from afar. If you reach out by the second week of December, I will be sure to raise your thoughts and suggestions at our December student-faculty Town Hall, a section of which we will devote to the broader mission and vision of the Academy. We look forward to seeing you, and to hearing from you, in the weeks and months ahead.

Very respectfully,

Miles Graham

2018-19 Yenching Academy Graduate Student Union President

Miles.u.graham@gmail.com

Miles_u_graham (WeChat)

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