Update from Dan Tedesco, Fulbright Student Scholar to China 2011-12
May 27, 2015
In his Fulbright application, Daniel Tedesco (BA '11, International Area Studies, Honors) questioned how youth leadership could be effectively harnessed to prepare the next generation of leaders.
“Involving young people in the world today is key to developing them into the leadership of tomorrow,” wrote the 2011 Drexel graduate.
Dan was referencing the research he’d later go on to do in Chonqing, China, examining a government-led student leadership program operating throughout China’s rural villages. In addition to his research, Dan, then a 23-year-old Fulbright Student Scholar, led a student nonprofit called Global China Connection, a 2,000-member nonprofit that fosters friendships between Chinese and American students. In April 2012, he got a phone call from the U.S. Embassy – and a chance to push the very message he’d so passionately embraced.
His instructions: Write and give a speech – just 7 days later and in Chinese – representing the “next generation of leaders.”
Among those he’d be addressing at the U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, a sideline to the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, were Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, State Councilor Liu Yandong (the highest-ranking female politician in China) and a crowd of more than 200 Chinese and American business leaders and government officials.
“[Addressing Secretary Clinton] was an incredible culmination of my research and a personally life-changing moment,” he says.
Dan credits the Drexel Fellowships Office and mentors like Dr. Julie Mostov for their encouragement, inspiration and support during the application process.
“Their mentorship and guidance set me on a path to gain the experiences and confidence required for Fulbright research on the opposite side of the globe,” he says.
Dan studied the Chinese government’s Student Village Officials program, which identifies and develops future local political leaders across China. He spent time observing and interviewing participants and program leaders to better understand the next generation of political leaders across China.
“Fellowships are a fail-safe way to explore a new part of the world or a specific field without committing an entire career to it,” says Dan. “And Fulbright is one of the best, because of its self-directed nature. Fulbright's impact on my Chinese language ability was immense. Nothing in English was written about Student Village Officials when I decided to study it. Almost no English-speaker had even heard of the program. But yet more than 300,000 government officials-in-training had already participated. I had to read, write, speak, and listen entirely in Chinese to get anything done.”
Dan now works in strategic planning for China's largest imported wine seller, ASC Fine Wines, and chairs the board of trustees Global China Connection.
“Today, I use Chinese for about 30 percent of my work. The Fulbright experience gave me a foundation to use the language in a true professional setting.”
Read more about Daniel's experiences in China on his blog.
About the Fulbright U.S. Student Program
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is designed to give recent B.S./B.A. graduates, master's and doctoral candidates, young professionals and artists opportunities for personal development and international experience. Each year, Fulbright awards 1,900 grants for 9-12 months of self-designed study, research, creative projects, or teaching English in one of over 140 participating countries.
Fulbright U.S. Student grants are administered by the Institute for International Education (IIE) with the goal of encouraging cultural exchange and mutual understanding through engagement in an "atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom."
To apply for Fulbright at Drexel University, you must submit an application for campus review. Learn more on our 2016 Fulbright Student Program page.