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Jesse Caemmerer Earns Inaugural “China Rhodes” Scholarship

From a small town in Washington to the third largest city on the planet with stops at SCU and Singapore along the way political science and international relations alumnus Jesse Caemmerer ’14 has officially made an international name for himself after being chosen to join Beijing’s inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars.

This year, the first cohort of 111 Schwarzman Scholars was selected from more than 3,000 applicants an acceptance rate of just 3.7 percent with recipients hailing from 32 countries and 71 universities. The most significant program of its kind since the Rhodes Trust, the scholarship provides international students with a year of study through a master’s program at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, thanks in part to its $450 million endowment. The program’s curriculum was developed in partnership with academic leaders from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Oxford, Duke and other prestigious universities from around the world.

“It is an exciting opportunity to advance my focus on U.S.-China relations through an immersion experience that combines academics and leadership training, and brings together Chinese and Western approaches to understand the most pressing political issues,” says Caemmerer. “I am especially looking forward to learning from such an accomplished and diverse peer group.”

Secretary of State John Kerry agrees: “Everything starts by fostering strong relationships between our young people, especially through educational exchanges and strengthening our people-to-people ties,” he says. “Only by immersing ourselves in each other’s languages and cultures can we truly understand each other and build the kind of partnership that will work for everybody. Scholarship programs like this help students become leaders, and we need more leaders—leaders who will guide us through extraordinary global challenges that lie ahead of us, and make sure we will face these challenges and seize opportunities together.”

On top of securing a 3.99 GPA while at SCU, Caemmerer also earned a minor in East and Southeast Asian regional studies. In 2013, he was named a Jean Donovan Fellow, supporting a post-conflict rehabilitation program in the Southeast Asian nation of Timor Leste. In 2014, Caemmerer won a Rotary Global Fellowship to complete his M.S. in Strategic Studies from Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore, graduating at the top of his class.

Currently, he works in Singapore as a personal research analyst to Ambassador Barry Desker and coordinator of the Singapore Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, focusing on irregular warfare and Asia-Pacific security.

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