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The African-American China Leadership Fellows Program (AACLF)  is dedicated to the professional development of African-American China specialists. Through the guidance of experienced mentors, participants will expand their professional networks and hone skills critical to advancing their careers.   

Program Mission

Now in its second year, the African-American China Leadership Fellowship strives to curb the under-representation of African-Americans in all facets of U.S.-China relations, from corporations, to government, to civil society. A growing body of evidence reveals that the problem originates not from differences in experience, qualifications, or aspirations, but from an uneven playing field and invisible barriers, such as the absence of targeted support structures to advance careers and lack of awareness of existing and emerging talent. We believe that supporting up-and-coming African-American professionals is key to improving U.S. national security and competitiveness and better reflecting the diversity of the United States. 

Program Overview

This 8-month (late-April to late-November) mentoring program targets early-to-mid-career African-American professionals who have demonstrated a strong interest in China either through formal study or time in country. The program is remote and part-time, with an in-person week-long capstone trip to Washington D.C. in November 2022. The curriculum focuses on a core set of career skills, including communications, networking, goal setting, and navigating career pathways. We have paired program participants with successful African-American mentors with deep experience engaging with China. Learn more about the 2022 AACLF Fellows.

Introducing the 2022 AACLF Fellows

Jullion Cooper
Global Leadership Fellow

Shirley Martey Hargis
Rhodium Fellow

Leland Lazarus
Dentons Global Advisors – ASG Fellow

Monty McGee
Fellow in Cyber Policy

Tarela Moses
Fellow in Advanced Academics


Obio Ntia
Fellow in International Diplomacy

Samantha Payne
International Security Fellow

Keome Rowe
Fellow in Global Public Affairs

Dr. Joseph Smith
Foreign Affairs Fellow

Raven Witherspoon
Fellow in International Public Policy


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

Dannielle Andrews
Chief, Economic Unit, American Institute in Taiwan

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
Assistant 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
International Advocacy Manager 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

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 Co-Director, Young China Watchers.

Nathaniel Ahrens
Executive Director, American Mandarin Society

Christina Pinckney
Program Specialist, UC Berkeley Extension. Research Assistant, American Mandarin Society

Isaac Stone Fish
CEO and Founder, Strategy Risks


This program is made possible by support from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Albright Stonebridge Group, Cummins Inc., Rhodium Group, and the U.S. China Business Council.


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