A Cross-Cultural Education in China, Japan and Washington, DC

Darnell Shaffer
MA, ’17
Energy, Resources and Environment
First year: The Hopkins-Nanjing Center

Darnell is a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins SAIS’ Energy, Resources and Environment Program. He spent his first year of graduate school at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Having studied and worked in China before, Darnell was interested in the HNC’s unique value proposition. The HNC offers a graduate-level program in international relations taught in Chinese from a non-Western centric worldview. Nanjing is a city with a long history and rich tradition which enhanced the program experience. The HNC allowed Darnell to connect classroom lectures on Chinese history, politics, and development with a city of national importance. Between the HNC and his studies at the Washington, DC campus, Darnell interned at the Center for New Structural Economics at Peking University focusing on industrial transformation and Special Economic Zone policy in Nigeria.

During this year’s winter break, Darnell joined the Kakehashi Project study trip in Japan. The study trip in Tokyo and Nagasaki allowed Darnell to deeply engage a range of Japanese policymakers, academics and civil society. A discussion on Japan’s energy security and policy along with a tour of J-POWER’s Isogo cutting-edge thermal power plant was a trip highlight.

Darnell’s plan is to pursue a career in infrastructure development and finance in Sub-Saharan Africa. He expects to draw from his experiences in East Asia to support African development.