Skip to content

Mentoring Sessions

As part of the Future CHOICE initiative aimed at aspiring China experts, the CHOICE team introduced a brand-new series of exclusive mentoring sessions aimed at fostering the soft skills of junior researchers and analysts on China in CEE and beyond.

During these unique meetings, leading specialists in the field and contributors to the CHOICE network take up the role of mentors in order to advise their younger counterparts on the obstacles they may encounter when conducting research on China and share their experience that shaped their career paths. Future CHOICE mentoring sessions provide much-needed space for intensive Q&A sessions and a small-group interaction on plenty of relevant topics, both on a professional as well as personal level.

In the feedback on the program, the participants found the previous sessions inspiring and also motivating. The openness of all the speakers, the wealth of their professional experience and perhaps most importantly their willingness to share personal stories and insights led to interactive discussion with the participants. The sessions highlighted the need to provide an open environment for informal debates, where participants can learn skills that are not readily available elsewhere, but are crucial for a successful career in the field.

After two successful rounds of mentoring sessions, Future CHOICE now returns with new opportunities for junior China experts, with the core focus on mastering the tricks of trade necessary for the current trends in research on China.

Contact Person

VERONIKA BLABLOVÁ

Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE Initiative, Association for International Affairs (AMO), Czech Republic

veronika.blablova@amo.cz

Upcoming sessions

Edition 3, Session 1: Mastering Interview Techniques
October 24, 2023


The first session of this mentoring series was devoted to a topic frequently requested by the Future CHOICE community – interview techniques. The event covered tips related to communicating with interviewees from different geographical and cultural backgrounds, with a special emphasis on Chinese politicians, academics and journalists. The event focused on the entire research process from preparation of the interviews to handling biases and ethical concerns.


Speaker:

Joshua Eisenman – Associate Professor of Politics at the the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame


The session was moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.



Edition 3, Session 2: Understanding a Survey
December 6, 2023

Linkedin Promo

The December session centered around the art of survey design, with a special focus on designing surveys in different countries and the intricacies of this process in China. Our expert speaker shared her wealth of knowledge and practical experience, addressing the issue of conducting surveys in various countries and interpreting the results, especially those gathered by Chinese organizations.


Speaker:

Laura Silver – Associate Director at Pew Research Center


The session was be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.




Edition 3, Session 3: Research Partnerships and Funding
February 22, 2024


Linkedin Promo

This session offered a unique opportunity to discuss research partnerships and funding schemes with Dr. Nana de Graaff, Chair of the “China In Europe Research Network”, known as CHERN. This project predominantly focuses on deepening knowledge on China, enabling interdisciplinary and cross-regional cooperation, and fostering capabilities of junior researchers. This online event, therefore, shed more light on the strategies to build long-term partnerships with other researchers and organizations, and how to subsequently manage a network of partners during a research project. Furthermore, this session provided tips regarding short-research stays and applying for funding, including different funding schemes that are available for early career researchers.


Speaker:

Dr. Nana de Graaff – Chair of CHERN & Associate Professor in International Relations at VU Amsterdam, Netherlands


The session was moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.



Edition 3, Session 4: Contributing to a China-focused Journal
April 11, 2024

Linkedin Promo 1

During this mentoring session, Dr. Timothy Hildebrandt, a seasoned editor of The China Quarterly, shared his invaluable experience and strategies for successfully contributing to prestigious academic journals. Participants learned how to navigate the submission process, from understanding common pitfalls in writing on China to responding effectively to peer review feedback. The session aimed to demystify the publication process, offering practical tips on selecting the right journals and best practices for writing academic articles. This opportunity provided early career China researchers with direct insight into the editorial expectations and how to enhance their research’s appeal to top-tier journals.


Speaker:

Dr. Timothy Hildebrandt – Editor of The China Quarterly & Associate Professor of social policy and development at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


The session was be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.




Edition 3, Session 5: Lecturing about China
May 15, 2024

Linkedin Promo 1

During this mentoring session, Professor Andrew J. Nathan, a distinguished faculty member at Columbia University since 1971, will share his extensive experience in lecturing about Chinese politics and foreign policy. This session is designed specifically for PhD students and early career researchers who are preparing to lecture about China. Participants will receive essential advice and insights to effectively engage and educate their audience about China’s rich history, diverse culture, and significant global impact. Topics will include developing lectures, selecting appropriate information sources, integrating interdisciplinary perspectives, utilizing modern pedagogical techniques, and addressing sensitive topics.


Speaker:

Professor Andrew J. Nathan – Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, New York, USA


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.






Past Editions

Edition 2

Edition 2, Session 1: Where should I start? A career path to China observer
November 10, 2022


The first session of the new mentoring season will delineate the differences of various career paths that China observers may take, with a special focus on working as a China analyst in academia and think-tanks. What are the pros and cons of these formats and which one would be the most suitable for you? What kind of capabilities are beneficial to pursue these paths?


Speaker:

Dr. Antoine Bondaz – Research Fellow at the Foundation for Strategic Research & Associate Professor at Sciences Po Paris.


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.


Edition 2, Session 2: It’s the data, stupid: Using OSINT methods in China research
February 28, 2023


This session will cover use of social media platforms in China and provide a broad overview of influence operations and platforms within the Chinese state. It will delve into research methods for understanding Chinese information operations on Chinese social media platforms and include examples and recommended readings for further inspiration. This session is suitable for all junior researchers aiming to bring their research to a new level and gain an overview of OSINT methods available.



Speaker:

Kenton Thibaut – Resident China Fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab).


The session will be coordinated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.


Edition 2, Session 3: Where should I look for information? Tips on working with sources
March 29, 2023


With so many sources on China, ranging from news reporting, policy papers and studies to podcasts, books, youtube channels and social media posts, it might be hard not to get lost in the amount of information. How to identify relevant sources for your research and how to review them systematically? What are the strategies for working with Chinese sources, including China’s policy documents? What is data science and what are its benefits in China research? Join us to improve your methods of working with various sources.


Speaker:

Vincent Brussee – Analyst at Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS)


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.


Edition 2, Session 4: Know who is watching you: Safe research practices for China observers
May 23, 2023

The May mentoring session will shed more light on best practices to conduct research on China while also ensuring safety of junior researchers. Whereas China analysts may benefit from information gathered from online sources, it is crucial to acknowledge that such research also comes with significant risks for your personal and research data security. What are the risks involved and what are the best methods to prevent them from occurring?


Speaker:

Michal Thim – Threat Intelligence & OSINT Analyst, Czech Republic


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.


Edition 2, Session 5: Using ChatGPT in China research
June 7, 2023

In the final session of this edition, early career researchers and students will delve into the world of ChatGPT, a powerful language model developed by OpenAI. Specifically tailored for participants with limited or no prior knowledge of this model, the workshop will emphasize its applications in research and analysis. Join us to explore the possibilities of ChatGPT and gain insights into its limitations. Don’t miss this opportunity to expand your understanding of this transformative technology.


Speaker:

Veronika Blablová – Data Analyst at the Association for International Affairs (AMO), Czech Republic


The session will be moderated by Kara Němečková from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the External Relations Manager of CHOICE and MapInfluenCE.


Edition 1

Edition 1, Session 1: The Making of a Next-Generation China Scholar
Ocober 19, 2021

The very first Future CHOICE mentoring session will be devoted to the increasingly lengthy list of obstacles that China researchers are likely to face in coming years and how best to contend with these challenges.


Speakers:

Dr. Ivana Karásková – China Research Fellow and a China Projects Lead at the Association for International Affairs (AMO), Czech Republic


Dr. Jakub Jakóbowski – Senior Fellow at the China-EU Programme at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), Poland


Dr. Mathieu Duchâtel – Resident Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Program at Institut Montaigne, France


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.


Edition 1, Session 2: Challenges of Reporting & Pursuing Academic Career in China
December 7, 2021

The December session will concentrate on sharing our experts’ insights regarding the performance of various professional activities in China, each of whom have a wealth of experience working on the ground in the country. As identified during the introductory session in October, gathering information in China is increasingly arduous due to political and other constraints. Thus, it is crucial to not only build on experience, but address the new challenges that have emerged as of late. This session is designed for aspiring researchers and journalists considering a career in China-related topics and especially those interested in working on the ground in China.


Speaker:

Marije Vlaskamp – journalist and former China correspondent, Netherlands
Rubén Ruiz-Ramas – Assistant Professor of the Department of Political Science and Administration at the UNED, Spain


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.


Edition 1, Session 3: Studying in China and Taiwan
February 16, 2022

The first session of 2022 will be dedicated to sharing experiences with various opportunities available for students of China studies and related fields. Firsthand experience is an invaluable asset in pursuing a career as China experts. Studying in China or Taiwan, therefore, represents a key advantage for those seeking to immerse themselves in the local environment working on language but also other skills. Our speakers, all of whom have experience with long-term degree studies in China and Taiwan, will discuss various practical topics such as university requirements, lecture style, exams and final theses, and more. Inevitably, this discussion aims to touch upon student life, interactions with local and international peers, immersion in local culture, finding internship opportunities as well as some common challenges encountered.


Speakers:

Marcin Jerzewski – Research Fellow, Taiwan NextGen Foundation
Filip Šebok – Project Manager and China Research Fellow, Association for International Affairs (AMO)


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.


Edition 1, Session 4: How to Make an Impact
April 25, 2022

The April mentoring session aims to provide our experts’ insights and strategies on contributing to public debate on China-related issues and more. This session’s objective is to share practical advice on making your work impactful, both in content and reach. It is crucial to address these issues as they may present challenges for aspiring China researchers, especially at the outset of their career. The discussion will be devoted to effective utilization of social media, strategies for media appearances, and tips on how to best utilize each opportunity. Similarly, this debate intends to touch upon dealing with reactions to the media appearances and strengthening confidence in your research area.


Speakers:

Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy – Ph.D. Research Fellow at the European Union Centre at National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Matej Šimalčík – Executive Director of the Central European Institute of Asian ‎Studies (CEIAS), Slovakia


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.


Edition 1, Session 5: Improving Public Speaking Skills
June 8, 2022

By popular demand from our mentoring session participants, the final session of this series will provide our experts’ insights and personal strategies for strengthening confidence in public speaking and improving presentation skills. This session’s objective is to share practical advice based on the abundant experience of CHOICE experts on overcoming stress or self-doubt when responding to media inquiries, delivering a lecture or speaking at a conference. It is crucial to address this issue as it may represent a considerable challenge for junior analysts at the onset of their careers.


Speaker:

Dr. Una Aleksandra Bērziņa-Čerenkova – Head of the Asia program at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Latvia

Pavel Havlíček – Research Fellow at the Association for International Affairs (AMO), Czech Republic


The session will be moderated by Veronika Blablová from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), the Project Coordinator of the Future CHOICE initiative.