Diana Won (MPP ‘15) is one of 18 Americans selected for the competitive Luce Scholars program. Won was selected from 156 candidates who were nominated by 16 academic institutions (Won was nominated by Rutgers, her undergraduate school). Her scholarship follows a three-month, interview-intensive selection process.
At the Ford School, Won is co-chair of the International Policy Students Association and a member of a number of student organizations including Women and Gender in Public Policy and Students of Color in Public Policy. She is also a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow (2010) and serves as Graduate Student Representative to the Ford School’s Alumni Board. Won is interested in international affairs and development, and completed her Ford School internship with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Lima Peru.
The Luce Scholars program was established in 1974 “to enhance understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society.” Luce Scholars receive stipends, intensive language training, and individualized assistance finding fitting career placements in Asia. Last year’s scholars, for example, were placed with the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (Bangkok, Thailand), the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (Tohoku, Japan), the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences (Dumaguete, the Philippines), the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (Jakarta, Indonesia), the National Academy for Educational Research (Taipei, Taiwan), and others.
According to the Henry Luce Foundation, this year’s scholars range in age from 18 to 29, and hail from every corner of the country. “The selected scholars include an immigration activist, an urban climate policy specialist, a theatre maker, a political consultant, an ikebana artist, a historian and curator of the African American experience, political scientists specializing in economic development and LGBTQ rights, and a number of students of public health, with interests ranging from medical technology to women’s health,” writes the foundation. “Some of the selected scholars have hardly set foot outside the United States, while many others have lived or worked in foreign countries, such as Poland, Russia, Turkey, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Brazil, Guatemala, and Peru, but all are eager to explore, learn from, and develop their professional and personal interests in Asia.”
In the coming year, Won and the 17 other Luce Scholars will be matched with their professional placements and will begin an intensive language immersion program in their host countries. “This year, for the first time, Myanmar and Nepal have been added to the list of countries where scholars may be placed,” reports the foundation.
The University of Michigan is one of 75 academic institutions eligible to nominate students for the program. Application deadlines run from October to November of each year.