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Applications are now being accepted online for the 2019-2020 Luce Scholars competition. Click here for more details.
Congratulations to the 2018-2019 class of Luce Scholars! 2017-2018 Luce
Scholars share their experiences.

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The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program. It was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields who have had limited exposure to Asia.

The program, open to both U.S. citizens and permanent residents, is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders who have had limited experience of Asia and who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to come to know Asia. Those who already have significant experience in Asia or Asian studies are not eligible for the Luce Scholars Program.

On the other hand, candidates may have taken Asian language or Asia-focused courses (without majoring in Asian Studies). They may have spent up to a total of eighteen weeks in countries where Luce Scholars are placed.

Luce Scholars have backgrounds in virtually every field other than Asian studies, including but not limited to the arts, journalism, law, medicine, science, public health, environmental studies, and international relations.

By June 20th of the year they enter the program, candidates must have received at least a bachelor’s degree and will not have reached their 30th birthday.

Luce Scholar candidates are nominated by seventy-five colleges and universities. A completed online application necessary for institutional endorsement is due by early or mid-October at most participating schools.

Successful candidates should have a record of high achievement, outstanding leadership ability, and clearly defined interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. After two rounds of one-on-one interviews, the new class of Luce Scholars is announced in February.

Luce Scholars gain new perspectives and cultural insights on their host countries through immersive living and working experiences in Asia. A professional placement is individually arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her professional interest, background, and qualifications.

Placements can be made in the following countries or regions: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Sri Lanka and Timor Leste are under consideration for inclusion in the program.

The “Luce year” begins in the second half of June with orientation in New York City. Luce Scholars engage in intensive language study in their individual host countries in July and August. Placements begin in September, an early-assessment retreat for all takes place in September, and a wrap-up meeting will gather the Scholars once more in July of the following year.

In Asia, the program is administered by The Asia Foundation under a grant from the Luce Foundation and a cooperative agreement that dates from the program’s inception. The Asia Foundation, based in San Francisco, is a private not-for-profit agency active in development and education throughout Asia. Its field representatives in Asian capitals assist in identifying appropriate placements for the Scholars and in providing administrative support during the program year. A senior staff member of The Asia Foundation serves as program coordinator, working in close collaboration with the staff of the Luce Foundation.

Program Director: Mr. Li Ling
Program Associate: Ms. Michelle Douenias

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Program Director: Mr. Li LingLing has directed the Foundation’s Luce Scholars Program since 2009 and concurrently serves as the program officer for the Asia Program. Previously he served as the director of transnational initiatives at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and practiced law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, both in New York. He also worked for the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental agency, as a program officer in its Geneva Headquarters and Washington, D.C. and Vienna Missions. A native of Wuhan, China, Ling studied at the Institute of International Relations in Beijing from 1988-1991 and returned to Beijing in 1996 to serve as the special assistant to the Bureau Chief of the New York Times. He has a B.A. in comparative literature from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in international relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a J.D. from Columbia University Law School.

Program Associate: Michelle DoueniasMichelle directs the day-to-day administration of the program including all meetings and events. During her tenure at the Foundation she has also worked as Program Assistant on the Luce Scholars and Clare Boothe Luce Programs. Prior to joining the Luce Foundation in 1990, she worked as a jewelry designer and taught 6th-12th grade art. She holds a B.A. and a teaching certificate in fine arts from Ohio Wesleyan University. Michelle also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Morris Educational Foundation.

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To download the program overview, click here.