Ruben de Bie received the 2012 Ivy Circle Fulbright Scholarhip to pursue a study in Sinology. A cum laude graduate from the University of Leiden and University of Beijing he wants to being a career in diplomacy and look at meeting East and West. After two years in New York he sent Ivy Circle chair Hollis Kurman:
Dear Ivy Circle alumni,
After two semesters of study at NYU, I am happy to tell you that I have been able to complete my degree of MA in East Asian Studies. It has been a successful year in every respect and has brought me more than I had ever expected was possible in such a short period of time. Not only a life experience, it has also created lasting value by opening new doors.
Although I have come back to take up an internship position at the Directorate Asia and Oceania of the Foreign Ministry in The Hague, I will also be affiliated to the US Asia Law Institute mentioned in my previous letter. I will in this capacity be working on a research paper involving China’s possible doctrinal shift from absolute state immunity to restrictive state immunity, among other topics. Moreover, it is my intention to stay in close contact with the many interesting people in the field I have had the pleasure to meet during the past year.
Courses of the first semester have assisted me in my thesis research on homeowner organizations in the PRC, which I have had the honor to present on multiple occasions and still hope to publish an article on. The courses I have taken this semester will have direct use in the internationally oriented work I am currently pursuing. The world of diplomacy, which has interested me since my mid-teens, has become a lot clearer through theoretical as well as practical teachings on diplomacy by State Department employee Robert Dry. He also brought to class a great number of his colleagues for lectures. Equally as much credit goes to former UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, who has given the sharpest and richest overview of international law one can put in a single course. Finally, Jerry Cohen’s course on “Chinese attitudes to international law” has brought both my interest areas together with valuable anecdotes alongside a truckload of supporting official documents.
When the pressure of finals and thesis deadlines was past, time came to obtain a driver’s license and say goodbye. Namely, the last month of my stay would be spent on the road; 10.000 miles of road to be exact. Thus, I was able to see again some Fulbrighters I first met during an extraordinarily well-arranged “enrichment seminar” on social entrepreneurship in Portland (OR). From Nashville (TN) to Berkeley (CA) they welcomed me and introduced me to their living environment and friends. Not less pleasant was it to randomly befriend some Cajuns of southwest Louisiana and the grizzlies of Wyoming. In short, it has been a very rich experience.
Again I want to emphasize my thankfulness for your support. I will take everything of the past year along on the way to a yet quite undetermined future.