Shengjun Zhu is Assistant Professor at Peking University’s College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, where he specializes in globalization and regional development. At the BXAI Summer Program 2018, Zhu spoke at the “Urban-Rural Integration” topic learning stream, where he encouraged students to consider issues and opportunities resulting from East Asia’s rapid urbanization.

With a PhD, a master’s, and a bachelor’s degree in geography, as well as a bachelor’s degree in economics, Zhu’s interdisciplinary background has allowed him to investigate social and economic issues from a unique point of view that incorporates multiple perspectives. He stresses his belief in the importance of all social sciences, saying, “When we consider development, we should pay attention to the social, historical, economic, and geographical aspects. As an example, if we give too much weight to just one aspect, such as economic development, we end up adopting a one-sided view that limits our understanding and invites a host of negative effects, such as environmental pollution and child labor.”

He advises students interested in pursuing research in social sciences: “To better understand the world, we should be open-minded and embrace diversity, differences, dynamics, and contingency.”