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African-American China Leadership Fellows Program

The 2023 program is now closed. The 2024 application window will open in February.

Program Introduction

The African-American China Leadership Fellows Program (AACLF) is dedicated to the development of mid-career African-American China professionals, striving to curb the under-representation of African-Americans in U.S.-China relations. We firmly believe that supporting rising African-American professionals is essential to enhancing the China space, improving U.S. national security and competitiveness, and better reflecting the diversity of the United States.

Now entering its fourth year, the program selects a group of outstanding, mid-career professionals and, through the guidance of experienced African-American mentors and the program team, helps them hone career skills, expand their policy knowledge, and activate professional networks to advance their careers. The ultimate goal is to help them navigate a path to senior leadership positions in their respective organizations and industries. 


Robert Anderson
Attorney-Advisor, Office of General Counsel, International Affairs, U.S Treasury

Dannielle Andrews
Faculty Advisor & Instructor, U.S. National War College

Ebonique Barker
Lead, Global Government Affairs, Underwriters Laboratories

Terri Batch
Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, International Trade Administration

Keisha A. Brown, PhD
Associate Professor of History at Tennessee State University


Daniel K. Delk, Jr.
Deputy Principal Officer, U.S. Consulate General Shanghai

Alethea Gordon
Director of Global Affairs, Global Public Policy, General Motors

Ann-Marie Padgett
Director of Market Access, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Division at Caterpillar Inc.

Keith Richburg
Director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong

Damon V. Woods
Director, Racial Equity Alliance, XPrize Foundation. Former U.S. Diplomat


Program Format

The program spans 8 months, from mid-April through mid-November. Fellows are paired with one of the mentors above, each of whom has deep experience engaging with China. The substance of the program focuses on further developing core career capacities, including communication skills, networking, goal setting, and navigating career pathways, and then working together to actively promote career advancement. It combines twice-monthly individual sessions with a mentor with monthly cohort events. The program culminates with an in-person trip for the cohort to Washington DC or another relevant location where they will be joined by the previous years’ alumni.


Applicants should be African-Americans who have:

  • demonstrated a commitment to developing a China-focused career
  • studied and/or worked abroad in Mainland China and/or Taiwan
  • a minimum of two years’ relevant work experience, though more is recommended as this is a mid-career program
  • a strong focus and drive to achieve his/her career goals
  • an interest in one of the fellowship areas listed above
  • Mandarin Chinese language skills

Application Instructions

We are looking for people with outstanding potential who are ready to become the next generation of leaders and mentors in the China space. All applicants should first register as members of AMS, then prepare a résumé, the names and email addresses of two references, and the answers to the following questions.

  1. Why are you interested in this program? What do you hope to accomplish? Where are you now, and where do you hope to go in the next five years? (500 words max)
  2. Why China? Describe your experience with and interest in China, and how China relates to your goals. (250 words max)

Please submit your applications by following this link. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, so we encourage early application. Feel free to contact us with any questions at

Support Us

We are seeking individual and corporate sponsors to help support this critically important program. To learn more, please contact


Program Team

Dewardric McNeal
Managing Director, Longview Global LLC

Mark Akpaninyie 
Co-Founder and Co-President, Black China Caucus

Nathaniel Ahrens
Executive Director, American Mandarin Society

Christina (Pinckney) Shih
Program Manager – Leadership Development, Workday, AACLF Program Lead, American Mandarin Society

Isaac Stone Fish
CEO and Founder, Strategy Risks



We are extremely grateful for our program sponsors, without whom this program would not be possible, and whose
program support demonstrates their strong, active commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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