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FSI congratulates our 2018 Rhodes and Schwarzman Scholars

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is proud to congratulate Stanford’s 2018 Rhodes and Schwarzman Scholars. In today’s climate, our scholarly work on foreign policy and international issues can feel ominous, so FSI is especially pleased to share the good news that four of the Rhodes and three of the Schwarzman Scholars studied with us.

Among the newly-appointed Rhodes scholars are Jelani Munroe, Alexis Kallen and Qitong “Tom” Cao, all current or former honors students in the Fisher Family Undergraduate Honors Program at FSI’s Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). Madeleine Chang, co-president of the FSI-sponsored American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford (AMENDS), joins them as well. The Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for study at Oxford University; all four will commence in October 2018.

The Schwarzman Scholarships fund one-year master's degrees in global affairs at Beijing’s distinguished Tsinghua University. Scholars include Claire Colberg and Daniel Kilimnik, alumni of the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) Honors Program, and Lucienne “Lucy” Oyer, a current Fisher Family honors student at CDDRL. They will begin study in August 2018.

“We are very proud of these terrific students in the FSI family and our exceptional faculty who have mentored them,” said FSI Director Michael McFaul. “These seven have exhibited extraordinary ideas and leadership here at FSI, and we look forward to seeing the great contributions they will make in their fields.”

While working on his honors thesis on the role of the armed forces in German security policy, Daniel Kilimnik relied on an FSI research grant that enabled him to interview legislators, government officials and academics in Berlin. Once he heads to Beijing, Kilimnik will investigate relationships between China, the U.S. and Europe.

“I can't imagine my undergraduate experience without the professors, mentors, friends and peers I got to know through FSI,” he said. “Without support from CISAC and FSI, I would not have been able to write my thesis.”

One CISAC mentor is Donald Emmerson, an emeritus senior fellow at FSI. As honors student Claire Colberg explored Vietnam’s policies toward China, Emmerson advised her to challenge conventional wisdom.

“All I did for Claire was to encourage her to be intellectually less respectful and more creative,” he said. “I would like to believe that merely by giving her free rein, I helped her develop her own voice.”

Madeleine Chang found her voice by embracing creative problem-solving. With help from FSI Student Programs, Chang was able to do the seemingly impossible: work around President Trump’s travel ban to hold a conference with undergraduates from all over the world, including students affected by the ban.

“The irony of being an American-Middle Eastern group unable to meet in America itself spoke to why we needed to meet: to remind ourselves and others of the incredible potential of young people connecting across borders,” Chang told Stanford News.

Unable to bring all students to the United States, Chang looked across the pond and was able to hold the AMENDS conference at Oxford. FSI senior fellow Larry Diamond and academic program manager Gina Gonzales provided support on- and off-the-ground to keep things moving, even outside the Stanford realm.

“It was incredible to see Maddie leverage her connections at Oxford to turn the challenge of overcoming the travel ban into a fantastic opportunity,” said Gonzales.

Diamond believes interactions with international students are particularly valuable to the academic community. He has advised several Rhodes-bound students who grew up outside the United States.

“It is always a particular joy working with foreign students,” he said. “They teach us so much about their countries, the development challenges they face, and how other parts of the world view the United States.

“You know when you are teaching students like Qitong and Jelani that you are engaging, in some way, future leaders in their fields.”