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Informing the Public Policy Debate on the Rise of China and the Future of U.S.-China Ties

The Wilson Center’s 2021 China Fellowship Conference presents research findings of the inaugural class of the Corporation-supported Wilson China Fellowship


In March 2020, the Wilson Center announced the recipients of its inaugural Wilson China Fellowship, a nonresidential fellowship supporting the next generation of American scholarship on China. Created with support from the Corporation, the fellowship allowed 16 scholars the opportunity to research a diverse range of issues vital to better understanding China’s current trajectory and its implications for the United States and the world.

In February 2021, the first Wilson Center China Fellowship Conference gave fellows the chance to publicly present and debate the findings of their research on topics ranging from international security to the environment.

During a keynote address on the first day of the conference, Stephen Del Rosso, a program director with the Corporation’s International Peace and Security program, spoke on Carnegie Corporation’s long-standing involvement in China, starting with a grant of $200,000 in 1913 (equivalent to about $5 million today) to what became known as the Chinese Educational Commission, which supported Chinese students studying at U.S. colleges and universities.

“Although China has factored into Carnegie Corporation programming in various ways over subsequent decades,” Del Rosso explained, “it’s really been only since the mid-aughts that the International Security and Peace program has focused on China in earnest.” With a concentration on facilitating global dialogue and scholarly research devoted to emerging topics relevant to public policy, the Corporation has helped nurture numerous China initiatives, including the Wilson China Fellowship, in hopes of advancing knowledge and understanding to ensure greater balance and debate.

“Good policy is formed by good ideas, and good ideas are not formed in a vacuum. We look to the academy as a major source of those ideas while recognizing that the path from idea to policy is often long and nonlinear,” Del Rosso observed. “At the start of a new presidential administration, where relationships between the U.S and China have reached a new level of tension and potential danger. . . the need for a deeply informed and nuanced understanding of this rising power seems more important than ever.”

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