After an intense three-month selection process that was entirely remote, the Henry Luce Foundation is delighted to announce the 2021–2022 class of Luce Scholars.
This year, after nominations from over 70 participating colleges and universities and screening by program staff of applications from a dozen non-affiliated campuses, 164 semi-finalists contended for 18 spots in the new class. The Luce Scholars Program has long been dedicated to enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in every aspect of its work and is proud of this year's candidate pool and final cohort, both of which are the most diverse in the program’s history. Among this talented and public interest-minded group of 18 new Luce Scholars are 12 persons of color and a significant number of first- or second-generation immigrants, first-generation college graduates, and LGBTQ-identified individuals.
Each year, the Luce Scholars Program aims to provide young Americans who have great leadership potential, but little previous exposure to Asia, with an immersive experience through which they can learn to “be comfortable being uncomfortable.” The professional, cultural, and linguistic challenges they encounter are at the heart of the Luce experience and help the Scholars grow personally and professionally. They develop a sophisticated understanding of a dynamic region that is critical to America’s future and gain a new perspective of the world and America.
In 2020, Scholars not only had to adapt to new geographies, languages, and cultures, but they were unexpectedly tasked with navigating the effects of the pandemic, which swept through Asia before extending its reach across the globe. COVID-19 changed the trajectories of two cohorts of Luce Scholars, but the admirable grit and grace with which the Scholars rose to the challenge enabled the program to be among the very few major competitive fellowships that were not canceled, postponed, or moved entirely online. Most importantly, it made the Scholars’ Luce year truly transformative.
The world awaiting the 2021–2022 Luce Scholars remains unsettled, but the Luce Scholars Program is committed to working with the Scholars—individually and as a cohort—by providing them with flexible and personalized support. More than ever, the United States needs a new generation of leaders who deeply understand Asia, in all its pluralistic, contradictory, and beautiful messiness, and who, when the moment comes, can build bridges and work effectively with their counterparts and communities in Asia.
Congratulations to the 2021–2022 Luce Scholars!
The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program launched by the Henry Luce Foundation to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields who have had limited exposure to Asia.