The Public Intellectuals Program (PIP), launched by the National Committee in 2005, is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of China specialists who, in the tradition of earlier China hands, have the interest and potential to venture outside of academia to engage with the public and policy community.
Through a varied set of activities spread out over two-and-a-half years, the program helps twenty young American scholars and specialists working in various disciplines to expand their knowledge of China beyond their own interests by introducing them to each other as well as specialists from outside their fields. By requiring each of the fellows to organize a public outreach program, PIP also encourages them to actively use their knowledge to inform policy and public opinion.
Program activities for PIP include two Washington, D.C.-based workshops on U.S.-China relations, including government and private sector briefings and media training (see recent PIP media placements in the sidebar to the right); a workshop in San Francisco designed to expose fellows to China specialists and institutions on the west coast; participation in one of two ten-day study tours to China; and participation in a National Committee-sponsored conference or serving as a scholar-escort for a Committee delegation.
The fourth cohort of PIP is being funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York; the first three cohorts were funded by The Henry Luce Foundation and The Starr Foundation.
The Public Intellectuals Program is an enrichment opportunity intended to complement participants' primary academic or professional positions; stipends are not provided, but costs are covered. The program offers unique opportunities for professional development, mentoring by senior scholars, networking, and exposure. PIP fellows gain access to senior policymakers and experts in both the United States and China, and to individuals and fields they would not typically be exposed to, including, for instance, the emerging business and nonprofit sectors in China, as well as the media. The program’s ultimate objective is to upgrade the quality of American public understanding of China by strengthening links among U.S. academics, policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public.