Giving Tuesday message from Shansi Returned Fellow and Hiroshima alum Jenny Luan ’18

Dear Friends of Oberlin Shansi,

My time in Hiroshima on the Shansi Fellowship was cut short by several months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, in hindsight, I am grateful I was able to spend most of my Fellowship on site. I had the chance to work with people from all over the world, including atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, women leaders from Afghanistan and young entrepreneurs from Iraq. I got to engage with local cultures, cuisines, and communities and gain valuable professional experience while working for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and a UN Agency. The Fellowship helped me pivot my career outlook from an academic researcher in psychology to a scholar-practitioner in international development and policy. From Beijing, to Oberlin, and to Hiroshima, I feel prepared for future challenges after this well-adapted first step into the globalized society.

As an international student at Oberlin from China, Shansi was one of the few international Fellowships available to me. Through Shansi, my Japanese language studies continued as I completed my summer language training in Tokyo and used the language daily with my Japanese colleagues at UNITAR Hiroshima and ANT-Hiroshima. I was able to learn more about Japan as a country, a society, a community, and a home through countless aspects like buying lunch at convenience stores, joining after-work parties with colleagues, and taking dance classes with friends at local studios. These everyday snapshots became my most treasured memories of the Fellowship, which I cannot imagine being replaced by any online experience.

With NGO ANT-Hiroshima’s Director Tomoko Watanabe (left) in front of the Hiroshima A-bomb Dome before my departure in April 2020


I came back to Oberlin as Shansi’s Grants and Fellowships Coordinator a year after my Fellowship. Over the past few months, I have seen how our organization is navigating challenges and adapting to new norms. The Fellows Support Fund is central to how Shansi seeks to heighten our commitment to current and future Fellows. By offering options for current second-year Fellows to extend their Fellowships, the Shansi team is determined to allow these dedicated young professionals the chance to gain in-country, in-person experiences that I and so many Shansi alumni have come to treasure. In using this fund to offer additional professional opportunities and expanded mental health support for future Fellows, Shansi continues to prove itself as a leader in international education and exchange.


This year, I’ve also had the honor of helping launching Shansi’s newest program, the AAPI Experience Grant. As a student and an alumnus, I have always appreciated Oberlin’s multicultural community and Shansi’s support for Obies to explore diverse and dynamic human experiences globally. The AAPI Experience Grant supports student projects that highlight the voices and experiences of Asian, Asian, American, and Pacific Islander communities in North America, proving that cross-cultural connections - through art, storytelling, research, and volunteerism - can and should happen in our own communities. We are thrilled to host an online presentation on Thursday, December 9th at 7:30 pm of our first grantees. This forum will feature Noah Kawaguchi ‘22, a jazz composer, and Zihan Zhang ‘23, a cartoonist, who will showcase their art and discuss its contemporary relevance for the Oberlin and Shansi communities. If you are interested in attending, please register here.


To support Shansi’s dynamic programs, including the Fellows Support Fund, you can make a gift online at www.shansi.org/donate or send a check to Oberlin Shansi, 50 North Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074. You can direct your gift to the Fellows Support Fund by indicating the designation in the online “note” or on your check. If you have already made a gift this year, we appreciate your support of Shansi’s mission.


Sincerely,

Jenny Xin Luan ‘18

Hiroshima Fellow, 2018-20

Grants and Fellowships Coordinator 2021-2022

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