Yu Ruichuan

Bai Xian Alumnus, 2016 cohort, bachelor’s degree in global political economy, Waseda University.

Ruichuan’s AFLSP experience allowed him to develop a global mindset, opened his eyes to the value of mutual understanding, and emboldened him to pursue his career goals.

As a junior consultant at UNICEF’s Office of Research – Innocenti, Ruichuan helps manage the Children and COVID-19 Research Library, a comprehensive online database that collects global scientific research on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on children.  “It is such a meaningful project, and combines my passion and my dream – working in the area of children’s rights, and being employed by an international organization,” he says.  He credits the AFLSP for shaping his early career path.  “My cross-cultural experiences as a Bai Xian Scholar really changed my attitude towards the world, sparked my interest to work in a multicultural environment, and reaffirmed my career aspirations,” he says, referring to his decision to move to Geneva after graduation for a brief stint as a research intern with the United Nations’ Joint Inspection Unit.  This soon led to his current role at UNICEF, where he is able to focus on his area of interest – children’s rights and education – while being a bridge within a global agency.  “To build bridges, we must expose ourselves to different cultures and stay curious about what’s happening in different parts of the world,” he says.  “It’s not about persuading others to agree with you, but rather listening to others.  This is especially important during this time, when we have fewer opportunities to meet in person.  In order to work together well, we need to be extra proactive in terms of reaching out and learning from others.”

Reflecting back on his time at Waseda University, Ruichuan is especially thankful for the chance to take part in advanced seminars.  “It was a great opportunity to connect with fellow scholars from my cohort, many of whom I am still in touch with today,” he says.  “What’s more, I have also stayed in contact with my professors, and still reach out to them when I encounter questions on certain topics.  I deeply appreciate their willingness to walk alongside young scholars like myself even after graduation, as we embark on our respective career journeys.”

Despite challenges brought about by the pandemic, Ruichuan, who is currently based in Yunnan and working remotely, remains open to all kinds of opportunities around him.  In addition to working for UNICEF, he participates in a local volunteer teaching program and also stays engaged with the BX community, having recently joined the BXAI orientation where he met with new scholars.  As an alumnus, he encourages scholars to “take advantage of the Bai Xian platform to interact with others, especially since it is becoming increasingly difficult in our world today to have meaningful dialogue with those from different backgrounds.  To promote peace and collaboration in the region, we, as Asia’s future leaders, must equip ourselves to become bridges across cultures.”