Economic Changes in Saudi Arabia
David Kenner is exploring the economic changes underway in Saudi Arabia. He is focusing on how the new generation of Saudis is adapting to that change, and its members’ hopes for the years ahead. David has reported widely from across the Middle East for more than a decade. He was Foreign Policy‘s Middle East editor from 2013 until 2018, when he guided the magazine’s regional coverage while based in Egypt and Lebanon. A lifelong student of Arabic, David is a graduate of Georgetown University, and also attended the American University of Beirut. He is particularly interested in how American values and interests intersect with Middle Eastern politics.
Rural to Urban Transformation in Yunnan province
Matt Chitwood, while on fellowship for two years, is living in rural Yunnan, China’s southwestern-most province. In his home village of Bangdong, population 360, he is surrounded by hillsides of tea, walnuts, and coffee – the lifeblood of his neighbors. Matt’s research and writing focuses on how infrastructure development in Yunnan is transforming its people, land, economy, and governance. For almost a decade Matt has worked in Greater China: Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, and Taipei. His work experience spans the business, education, and non-profit sectors, and includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the US State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program. In recent years, Matt has developed, managed, and taught for study abroad programs like CET, CIEE, and Where There Be Dragons. Matt holds a dual M.A. in China Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He also completed the graduate certificate program at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Matt attended undergrad at Northwest Nazarene University, a private Christian liberal arts school, where he majored in International Business and studied abroad in Central America with the CCCU. He speaks Chinese and Spanish. Matt is also an avid pianist-accordionist-ukuleleist and can throw a mean frisbee.
Social Cohesion and Secularism in France
Karina Piser’s research explores measures to promote French secularism in public high schools in immigrant-heavy areas. Beginning in suburbs of Paris, she interviews students, teachers, administrators, and education-policy practitioners to better understand how the government is targeting schools to improve social cohesion in the aftermath of the 2015 and 2016 terrorist attacks. Prior to receiving the ICWA fellowship, Karina was an editor at World Politics Review, and has previously held positions at the Council on Foreign Relations, the European Council on Foreign Relations, and the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in Tunis, Tunisia. She holds a master’s degree from Sciences Po Paris, and has written for Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and World Politics Review, among other publications.