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We are proud to introduce the African-American China Leadership Fellows for the 2022 program year. Congratulations to Congratulations to Jullion Cooper, Shirley Martey Hargis, Leland Lazarus, Monty McGee, Tarela Moses, Obio Ntia, Samantha Payne, Keome Rowe, Dr. Joseph Smith, and Raven Witherspoon.

Jullion Cooper
Global Leadership Fellow, mentored by Damon V. Woods

Jullion Cooper is a Foreign Service Officer currently on assignment in Guatemala. He graduated with a B.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Delaware (2005) and an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (2013). He is a proud Delawarean dedicated to promoting racial, social and economic justice in his personal and professional capacities. In his free time, Jullion practices tennis and trains as an operatic tenor.

Shirley Martey Hargis
Rhodium Fellow, mentored by Robert Anderson

Shirley Martey Hargis is a Nonresident Fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab and Global China Hub at the Atlantic Council. She has over a decade of experience in the domestic politics and foreign affairs of Greater China. Her Asia policy experience spans security, economics, and technology in consulting, intelligence work, and policy research. She is interested in strategic technologies, China’s industrial base, export controls and sanctions, and law. 

Leland Lazarus
Dentons Global Advisors-ASG Fellow, mentored by Ann-Marie Padgett

Leland Lazarus is Special Assistant and Speechwriter to Gen. Laura Richardson, the Combatant Commander of U.S. Southern Command. He previously worked as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in China and the Caribbean. Before joining the U.S. government, he was an associate producer at China Central Television and a Fulbright scholar in Panama.  

Monty McGee
Fellow in Cyber Policy, mentored by Dannielle Andrews

Monty McGee has worked at the intersection of foreign policy and cyber policy in support of defense, diplomatic, and intelligence missions for over ten years. As the Associate Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute, he now applies his expertise to enhance the cybersecurity of small and medium sized businesses while strengthening global supply chain security. Monty’s interest in China began with an undergraduate study and field research experience and has blossomed into a fundamental part of his personal and professional development. 

Tarela Moses
Fellow in Advanced Academics, mentored by Dr. Keisha Brown

Tarela Moses is the Data Analyst and Database Manager for the Global China Initiative at the Boston University Global Development Policy (GDP) Center. Previously, she worked in the international relations office of the Export-Import Bank of the United States as a policy analyst and at the China Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies as a research assistant. Tarela received a B.A. from Duke University, certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and a M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Obio Ntia
Fellow in International Diplomacy, mentored by Daniel K. Delk, Jr.

Obio Ntia is a Foreign Service Officer who has served in consular assignments in Beijing, Guangzhou, Cape Town, and Shenyang. Before joining the State Department, he was an international education professional. He worked as a college counseling director in the international divisions of several Chinese public high schools. Prior to that, he spent four years as the Director of International Outreach at Mount Holyoke College where he traveled to twenty countries in Africa, Europe, and Asia to recruit students. He earned a BA in Chinese and Religious Studies from Hamilton College. As a first generation American whose parents immigrated from Nigeria, Obio often marvels that his young child is a Third Culture Kid. 

Samantha Payne
Fellow in International Security, mentored by Alethea Gordon

Master Sergeant Samantha Payne is the Superintendent of China Education for the China Aerospace Studies Institute, Lemay Center, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base. She is an experienced linguist with a Master of Public Health and Associate of Arts Degree in Chinese. 

Keome Rowe
Fellow in Global Public Affairs, mentored by Ebonique Barker

Keome (pronounced Key-men), a Foreign Officer with the U.S. Department of State, has served as a diplomat in China and Pakistan. This summer, he will join the State Department’s Operations Center team. He previously worked as a foreign policy fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives and in city government in Fort Worth, Texas. Rowe earned a master of public administration (M.P.A.) and an M.A. in international relations along with Certificates of Advanced Study in security studies and conflict resolution, all from Syracuse University, and obtained a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University. He speaks fluent Mandarin, Urdu, and Spanish. 

Dr. Joseph Smith
Foreign Affairs Fellow, mentored by Keith Richburg

Dr. Joseph L. Smith has a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor in the School of Africana and Multicultural Studies, and the School of History and Philosophy. Smith received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2020), a LL.M. in International Economic Law from Xiamen University (2021), M.A. in Black Theology from Union Theological Seminary in NYC (2006), and a B.A. in Philosophy from Kutztown University (2001). 

Raven Witherspoon
Fellow in International Public Policy, mentored by Terri Batch

Raven Witherspoon is a graduate student of global affairs in the Schwarzman Scholars program at Tsinghua University. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in physics and focus on nuclear engineering. She currently conducts research at the intersection of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, and international security. 

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