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Luce Scholar News

  • The Jack Geary Gallery in Soho, New York, is presenting a solo exhibition of work by Richard Jacobs, a member of the 1987-1988 Luce Scholar class. The show, entitled “Soul Delay,” will have a formal opening on Friday, September 12th, and remain open through October 11th. Geary describes the works on display as “capturing the present” with “extraordinarily colorful abstraction.” Jacobs spent his Luce Scholar year teaching and painting in Bali, Indonesia. His discoveries during his time there inspired a solo show at The Cooper Union curated by Dore Ashton in 1997, and continue to inform and resonate in his contemporary work.

  • 1995-1996 Luce Scholar Daniel F. Feldman has been appointed U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Feldman has been serving as one of two deputies to James F. Dobbins, the departing special envoy. Previously, he has been a partner in the international Corporate Social Responsibility group at Foley Hoag LLP, the Director of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council in the Clinton Administration, and Counsel and Communications Adviser to the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. A graduate of Tufts University, Columbia Law School, and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, Feldman spent his Luce year in Hong Kong, working with the China Law Project.

  • The April 21st cover story of the New Republic, written by 2011-2012 Luce Scholar Chris Beam, is set to become a major motion picture. The article, "Year of the Pigskin," tells the story of fellow Luce Scholar Chris McLaurin (2012-2013) and the Chongqing Dockers, a fledgling American football team in Southwestern China that McLaurin coaches, and its unlikely journey from an amateur tackle club to the first American football league champion in China.

    McLaurin played linebacker and tight end for the Wolverines at the University of Michigan. After graduating with high honors in history, he worked and studied in Johannesburg, London, and Washington, DC before moving to Chongqing as a Luce Scholar. Placed at a state-owned investment firm, he found community and a unique venue for cultural immersion in American football. Placed at Caixin Media in Beijing as a Luce Scholar a year before McLaurin, Beam stayed in the country and eventually joined the New Republic as its China correspondent. He followed McLaurin and the Chongqing Dockers for a year in order to write the feature. A classic underdog story, it also provides an insightful glimpse into the cultural transformations taking place in modern China. Sony Pictures acquired the rights to the piece before it was published, and will film the adaptation on location in China.


  • Congratulations to the 2014-2015 class of Luce Scholars! After an intense three-month-long selection process, 17 candidates from 17 nominating institutions have been chosen from among 155 outstanding nominees. Click on the Scholars' names to learn more about their backgrounds, passions and talents, and stay tuned for news about their placements in Asia.

  •          2014-2015 Luce Scholars
    Scholar's Name

    Jacob Bogart

    Benjamin Chin

    Joshua Cole

    Matthew Cook

    Joshua Freedman

    Nicole Gunawansa

    Joël Hage

    Michelle Huang

    Cindy Lung

    Katherine McDaniel

    Kyle Niezgoda

    Andrew Peters

    Will Poff-Webster

    Kevin Schell

    Katherine Schuler

    Audrey Stienon

    Meaghan Tobin

    Nominating Institution

    Tulane University

    Rutgers University

    Boston University

    University of Notre Dame
    Stanford University

    Washington & Lee University
    University of North Carolina
    Cornell University

    Brown University

    Yale University

    Emory University

    Northwestern University
    Harvard University

    Rice University

    George Washington University
    Hunter College

    New York University

    Professional Interests

    Human Rights

    Drug Policy

    Global Health

    Architecture

    Journalism

    Medicine

    Development

    Labor Law

    Education Policy

    Global Health

    Climatology

    Medicine and Neurolinguistics
    Education Policy

    Energy

    Wildlife Conservation

    Political Economy

    Agriculture and Trade

  • From writing a standardized national first aid curriculum in Laos to promoting the construction of bicycle lanes in Bangkok, from designing a rehabilitation device for a quadriplegic singer in Korea to teaching filmmaking classes to high school students in Indonesia, Luce Scholars’ placements allow them to get deeply involved in their new communities. But as they reflect on the first half of their Luce year in Asia, many Scholars agree that it’s the smaller, everyday moments that hold the biggest lessons. Click here to read the 2013-2014 Luce Scholars newsletter.



  • Current Luce Scholar Adam Lerner’s article, “The Skate Escape,” has been featured this week in the New York Times' regular section “India Ink - Notes from the World’s Largest Democracy.” The piece examines the rise of skateboarding culture in India, where three skateparks – the country’s first – have been constructed since 2008. Lerner pays particular attention to the divided nature of Bangalore’s skateboarding scene, with skateboarders “hailing from two of the city’s largest demographics — stressed young, educated professionals and street kids living in makeshift housing, either in slums or in tents.” Lerner received a B.A. in English from Cornell University in 2013. He is spending his Luce year in New Delhi, working for The Caravan, India’s only publication devoted to narrative journalism.

  • The 2014-2015 Luce Scholars competition has received 155 strong nominations from 75 participating institutions. The first round of interviews is taking place around the country in November and December, and 45 candidates will be selected as finalists. Final selection meetings will take place in San Francisco February 6-7, and in New York City February 11-14, 2014.

  • 1987-1988 Luce Scholar Edward C. Dumont has been appointed to the position of Solicitor General for the state of California. Dumont has previously served as the Assistant to the Solicitor General at the US Department of Justice, as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, and, most recently, as the vice chair of the Appelate and Supereme Court Litigation Practice Group for Wilmer Hale, LLP. He has argued 18 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. As a Luce Scholar, Dumont was placed with the Ukrit Mongkolnavin Law Office, in Bangkok, Thailand.

  • 1998-1999 Luce Scholar Joshua Kurlantzick’s new book, Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline in Democracy, challenges the conventional wisdom that the world’s burgeoning middle class will make the spread of democracy inevitable. Kurlantzick, who spent his Luce year in Thailand reporting for the Bangkok Post and is now a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, finds striking evidence that democracy is in the midst of a global decline. A recent article in Foreign Policy lays out the basic contours of Kurlantzick’s argument. Kurlantzick is the author of two previous books, Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World and The Ideal Man: The Tragedy of Jim Thompson and the American Way of War.

  • Congratulations to 2013-2014 Luce Scholars - the 40th Class since 1974 when the Luce Scholars Program was officially launched! After an intense three-month-long selection process, 18 candidates from 17 nominating institutions have been chosen from among 168 outstanding nominees. Click here to read more about their passions, accomplishments, and aspirations, and stay tuned for news about their placements in Asia.

  •          2013-2014 Luce Scholars
    Benjamin A. Bissell
    William F. Broderick
    Samantha G. Chadwick
    Martin A. Chorzempa
    Matthew P. Cortland
    Claire Duvallet
    Eryn R. Eby
    Genevieve E. Gebhart
    William D. Leimenstoll
    Adam B. Lerner
    Gene B. Merewether
    Megan Mills-Novoa
    Jeremy I. Pivor
    Henry L. Ross
    Aya Saed
    Tamara T. Shogaolu
    Nicholas J. Thompson
    Tarlise N. Townsend
    University of Virginia
    Oberlin College
    University of Illinois
    University of Minnesota
    Rutgers University
    Columbia University
    University of Puget Sound
    University of Washington
    University of North Carolina
    Cornell University
    Princeton University
    Lewis & Clark College
    Washington University in St. Louis
    University of North Carolina
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Southern California
    Emory University
    Indiana University

  • From helping migrant children in Bangkok to teaching dance in Taipei, from coaching Chongqing’s first and only American football team to rock climbing in Hanoi, from learning to say “high five” in Khmer to navigating Beijing bus routes in Mandarin, this year’s Luce Scholars report on their endeavors and adventures after half a year in host countries all across Asia. Click here to read the 2012-2013 Luce Scholars newsletter.



  • 2011-2012 Luce Scholar Héctor Salazar Salame has recently been appointed Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)’s regional office in Southeast Asia. J-PAL, affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. During his Luce year, Héctor was placed with Solo Kota Kita, an organization that supports participatory planning and policy making in Indonesia. He joined J-PAL SEA in August 2012 at the end of his Luce year. As Executive Director, he is developing the regional office’s portfolio of projects and growing its institutional presence in Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region.

  • 2010-2011 Luce Scholar Ted Alcorn produced a set of 34 video statements by people who have lost loved ones to gun violence as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s gun control campaign in the wake of the Newtown, CT school shooting this December. The videos, which Ted and his team created for DemandAPlan.org, are a call for U.S. policymakers to take immediate action on gun control, intended to be sent to all members of the incoming 113th Congress. Ted spent his Luce year in Beijing and has reported extensively from Asia as a photo- and print journalist. He is now a Senior Policy Analyst for the Office of the Mayor of New York.

  • The 2012-2013 class of Luce Scholars gathered in Thailand for their mid-year conference October 21-26, 2012.


    Luce Scholars visit the temple of Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

  • 1988-1989 Luce Scholar Tom Nagorski took over as the new Executive Vice President of the Asia Society in October 2012. Nagorski, who spent his Luce year reporting for the Nation in Bangkok, joined the Asia Society after a long career at ABC News, where he was most recently the Managing Editor for International News. A speaker of five languages including Thai, Nagorski has reported from numerous Asian Countries, from China and India to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • 1977-1978 Luce Scholar Steven Koch will become deputy mayor of Chicago this September. Koch, who spent his Luce year at the Economic Development Foundation in Manila, the Philippines, went on to a 27-year career at Credit Suisse, during which he also chaired numerous committees dedicated to public health, food, climate change, and other causes in Chicago. Koch will succeed Mark Angelson as deputy mayor under Rahm Emanuel, and will continue Angelson’s work toward maximizing budget savings and finding new revenue sources, according to the Chicago Tribune.

  • 1994-1995 Luce Scholar Adam Lashinsky’s book Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired—and Secretive—Company Really Works, released this January, has continued to garner attention and reviews. Through interviews with former Apple employees, Lashinsky penetrated the cloistered world of Apple’s management strategies, and examined whether this model can persist in a post-Steve Jobs world. A senior editor at Fortune who has reported extensively on Silicon Valley, Lashinsky spent his Luce year in Tokyo as a reporter for the Nikkei Weekly, Japan’s main economic daily. Interviews about Inside Apple can be found at Knowledge@Wharton and NYTimes.com.


  • The 2011-2012 class of Luce Scholars had their wrap-up meeting in Laos July 10-22. Laos was this class’s "focus country," a pilot concept the program has adopted in an effort to foster comparative perspectives and create a shared learning experience among Scholars regardless of host country. Throughout their Luce year, Scholars followed developments in Laos and learned about its diverse culture and complex history. In July, they had the opportunity to see the country up close.


    Luce Scholars take a coffee break from presentations on the banks of the Mekong River.

    They started in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO world heritage site and former royal capital, where they met to share the highlights of their experiences. From Luang Prabang, they traveled north along the Nam Ou River to Nong Kiau, then took a day-long bus ride to Xam Nuea Province in remote Northeastern Laos to visit the Pathet Lao Caves, where the Communist party leadership took refuge during the 1965-1974 U.S. bombing campaign. From Xam Nuea, the group traveled to Phonsavan, where they met with survivors of UXO (unexploded ordinance) and took part in a Baci ceremony with local villagers. They ended their study tour in the capital, Vientiane, where they had a roundtable with local young professionals, met with government representatives, and were hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to Laos, Karen B. Stewart.


    The 2011-2012 Scholars with Ambassador Karen B. Stewart at her official residence.

  • Our 18 Luce Scholars from the 2012-2013 class gathered in New York and San Francisco for their orientation June 19-27. They have now arrived at their individual destinations in India and ten other countries across East and Southeast Asia. After two months of intensive language training in their respective host countries, the new Luce Scholars will begin their professional placements in September. For bios of the new Scholars, click here.



  • 2009-2010 Luce Scholar Kate Otto and 2010-2011 Luce Scholar Rayden Llano, both working in the public health field, recently gave TEDx talks at UNC-Chapel Hill and Stanford, respectively. Kate’s talk focused on her Everyday Ambassador philosophy—meaningful public service in a globalized world—on which subject she is writing a forthcoming book. In his talk, Rayden related his own family’s health struggle and discussed the current state of health care, arguing passionately that truly sustainable changes depend on what we as a society choose to value and believe to be possible.

  • 2012-2013 Luce Scholar Renata Sheppard’s dance work fraMESHift will premiere at the Astra Theatre in Turin, Italy on Thursday, July 12th as part of the Teatro a Corte Festival. This evening-length performance—an “interactive dance relationship project between technology and humanity”—will feature an animated robot and live dancers navigating an interactive environment full of images and sound. Sheppard, who will spend her Luce year in Taiwan working with the Taipei National University of the Arts, has already begun collaborating with her future host in Taiwan, inviting two dancers from TNUA to Italy to participate in fraMESHift.

  • 2012-2013 Luce Scholar Justin Henceroth and a senior partner at Meridian Institute were recently named as members of a team receiving the second Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution (ECCR) Award for their work on a public and stakeholder engagement project focused around the revision of land management planning guidelines for the US Forest Service. The US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, a federal program that sponsored the award, noted that the “development of the new Planning Rule…sets a new standard for what is possible when applying a collaborative process to a controversial issue at a national scale.”

  • 2010-2011 Luce Scholar Julia Simon has been contributing stories to American public radio from post-Mubarak Egypt. She has reported on the Egyptian military's business interests, labor movements, and what fast food has to do with the Tunisian economy for American Public Media's Marketplace. She has also reported on Nubians, xenophobia and mistreatment of foreign domestic workers for PRI's The World. Most recently she filed a story for NPR's All Things Considered about Egyptian oil and natural gas contracts.

  • 2011-2012 Luce Scholars, who have lived and worked in their host countries since early July 2011, share their experiences in Asia.



  • 1997-1998 Luce Scholar Michael E. Robertson is spotlighted in I AM THEATRE, a national campaign highlighting the work of 50 theatre practitioners in 50 videos over 50 weeks. Nominated by Carnegie Mellon University, Robertson spent his Luce year in Bali, Indonesia, working with the Agung Rai Museum of Art. He is currently the Managing Director for the Lark Play Development Center in New York City.

  • 2010-2011 Luce Scholar Shira Milikowsky is directing a new play, BOB: A Life in Five Acts, to be presented at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in Cambridge, MA, on February 29 - March 2, 2012. During her Luce year, Milikowsky worked with the Seoul Metropolitan Theatre and Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea. Before returning to the U.S. to serve as the A.R.T.’s Artistic Director Fellow, she presented two projects at the Tumen River Festival, an interdisciplinary arts festival taking place on the border between China and North Korea. One of the projects was a Korean adaptation of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle, re-set in Korea in 1953. The play, which takes Brecht’s play about compassion and generosity and re-imagines it as a Korean folk tale, was created collaboratively by her and a team of 30 students and designers.

  • Wake Forest has appointed 1993-94 Luce Scholar Rogan Kersh as the University’s new provost and professor of political science. Kersh is currently the associate dean of academic affairs and professor of public policy at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and will continue in this position until the summer. He spent his Luce Scholar year with the Institute for International Policy Studies in Tokyo, Japan, working for the former Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone.

  • 1998-1999 Luce Scholar Joshua Kurlantzick’s new book, The Ideal Man: The Tragedy of Jim Thompson and the American Way of War, was released in November. For a preview of the book, which explores a key Cold War episode that is still playing out today, read his piece in Foreign Policy, “The End of the Innocents: How America's longtime man in Southeast Asia, Jim Thompson, fought to stop the CIA's progression from a small spy ring to a large paramilitary agency -- and was never seen again.” A former foreign correspondent and journalist, Josh spent his Luce year working for the Bangkok Post in Thailand, and is currently a fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His book, Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World, was nominated for CFR's 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award.


  • 1996-97 Luce Scholar Frederick F. Wherry is the author of two books published this year, The Culture of Markets and The Philadelphia Barrio: The Arts, Branding and Neighborhood Transformation, and co-editor of a third, The Cultural Wealth of Nations. He is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, and has investigated market phenomena in Philadelphia, Costa Rica, and Thailand (where he spent his Luce Scholar year). Another book, Global Markets and Local Crafts: Thailand and Costa Rica Compared, was published in 2008.


  • The 2010-2011 class of Luce Scholars had their wrap-up meeting in New Zealand July 13-20. The 17 Luce Scholars, who had spent their Luce year in 11 different countries in East and Southeast Asia, first gathered at the foot of Mt. Hutt, near Christchurch, to make presentations and share highlights of their experiences with each other. The group then traveled to Wellington, where they had an engaging roundtable discussion with 15 young Kiwi professionals, visited the Parliament, met with the Maori Language Commission, and had a farewell dinner at the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, David Huebner. Ambassador Huebner, a former Luce Scholar placed with the Japanese Diet in Tokyo in 1984-1985, spent a day with the Scholars, and reported his impressions in his blog.


    Thanks to 2010-2011 Luce Scholar Ted Alcorn for contributing to this album.

  • Our 17 Luce Scholars from the 2011-2012 class gathered in New York and San Francisco for their orientation June 21-29. They have now arrived at their individual destinations in 13 countries in Asia, including India for the first time in the history of the program. After two months of intensive language training, the new Luce Scholars will begin their professional placements in September. For bios of the new Scholars, click here.



  • Two 2010-2011 Luce Scholars have new publications in the public health field. Ted Alcorn, based in Beijing, has three articles in The Lancet, a prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal. The articles cover China’s organ transplant system, a review of China’s health reform process, and Mongolia’s struggle with liver cancer. Rayden Llano, based at Tokyo University’s Center for Global Health Policy, has contributed an Expert Brief on “Japan’s Evolving Role in Global Health” to the National Bureau on Asian Research. He is also a lead author in a Lancet series on Japan: Universal Health Care at 50 Years, to be published on September 1, 2011.

  • 2010-2011 Luce Scholars, who arrived in their countries of placement in early July 2010, share their experiences in Asia.



  • Four months into their language studies and placements throughout East and Southeast Asia, 2010-2011 Luce Scholars had a mid-year gathering in Hong Kong November 2-6, 2010.



  • Two former Luce Scholars have been appointed 2010-2011 White House Fellows: Harley Feldbaum, a 1995-96 Scholar in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the Office of Communicable Disease Control, and Jeffrey Prescott, a 2001-02 Scholar in Shanghai, China who taught at Fudan University School of Law. During their year as White House Fellows, Harley will be at the U.S. Agency for International Development, working on foreign policy issues regarding global health and development; Jeff will be working in the Office of the Vice President on national security and foreign policy issues. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/fellows/2010-2011 for the Fellows’ bios.



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