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Graduate Assistantships: China Program

  • President Carter was welcomed back to Beijing in 2009 for the 30th anniversary of his 1979 move to open full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. (Photo: The Carter Center/H. Saul)

The 2018-2019 China Program graduate assistant will research one of President Carter’s most important political legacies — the establishment of diplomatic relations with China — and examine and monitor the rising anti-China attitude in the United States. As the 40th anniversary of the normalization of U.S.-China relations approaches and as bilateral relations spiral downward, it is more important than ever to reflect on how the past can inform and define the present. 

The specific assignments for the graduate assistant will be as follows:

For the first five months, the China Program graduate assistant will conduct research on how the Chinese remember and talk about President Carter’s normalization decision as well as the international response to this important decision. The graduate assistant will also review both Chinese and American literature on what this normalization means to the United States, China, and the world. Using materials collected, an essay/report will be written as part of the effort "to remember and preserve President Carter’s legacy on U.S.-China relations."

For the remaining months, the graduate assistant will research how and why the American perception of China and of the bilateral relationship has changed since 2012 when President Xi Jinping took office. One goal of this research will be to determine if a tipping point has been reached in the bilateral relationship and to identify sources of rising anti-China attitudes in the United States. In collaboration with China Program staff, the graduate assistant will also examine what has been done to repair the “damaged” relationship and what the Center can do to reverse the negative trend and put the bilateral relationship on a more sustainable footing. An article will be completed on this theme for publication in a policy journal in the United States.      

The following timeline and benchmarks will be used to evaluate the progress of the research by the graduate assistant:

  • End of October 2018, complete research for essay/report
  • November 2018, write essay/report  
  • December 15, release essay/report in English
  • End of December, release essay/report in Chinese with support from CP staff
  • End of March 2018, complete research for policy journal article
  • End of May 2018, complete first draft of the article
  • End of July 2018, get the article published


  • Currently enrolled graduate or doctoral student who has completed at least two semesters of academic coursework in a master’s or post-master’s level program.
  • A 20-hour-per-week commitment for a period of 9-12 months.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently conduct research.
  • Strong writing skills.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Major in Political Science, History, or other Social Science fields.
  • Chinese reading capability is strongly preferred.

Compensation: $14/hour

See application deadlines »

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Graduate Assistantship


(August Start)
Application Open: Feb. 1-March 30

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