Back of graduates at ceremony with Commencement logo beside them

Messages to Our Graduates

Congratulations, Graduates! 
 

Recognition of Majors Graduating with Distinction (GwD)

Klingensmith
Anna Fraher Klingensmith

2nd Major AMES (Arabic)
Graduation with Distinction

 

Thesis: Exploring Cultural Influence on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) Policy: A Cultural Analysis and Comparison between Jordan and the United Kingdom

Abstract: This Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) thesis attempts to answer some of the questions raised by a public policy thesis I wrote in February. In my public policy thesis, I analyzed gender-oriented preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) policies in six countries. In this AMES thesis, I use cultural analysis to explain my findings for two countries in particular, Jordan and the United Kingdom (UK). I chose to focus on these two countries because my findings about their national action plans (NAPs) were the most unique. Jordan was very thorough in articulating policy indicators for the successful implementation of gender-oriented P/CVE policy, whereas the UK did not list a single policy indicator.

The AMES thesis concludes the main reason why the UK and Jordan may have such different NAPs is because of their understanding of gender norms in their country. Jordan wants to appear more progressive to the West regarding gender, so they are very thorough in detailing indicators of women’s empowerment in their NAP. Britain, meanwhile, believes it has largely solved gender inequality in the UK, and as such does not feel the need to focus on empowering women as agents in P/CVE.

Anna is a senior at Duke University double-majoring in Public Policy and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies with a concentration in Arabic. Anna will be working as a Research Analyst at the Embassy of Bahrain in DC after graduating.

Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez

2nd Major AMES (Arabic)
Graduation with High Distinction

 

Thesis: Cyberspace and the Middle East: An Analysis of the US-Iranian Digital Conflict and its Effects on Regional Politics

Abstract: This paper aims to discuss how cyberspace has transformed statecraft within the Middle East by way of introducing new vulnerabilities, enabling foreign intelligence gathering, asserting a state’s geopolitical influence, and their ability to conduct asymmetrical warfare. The Middle East’s regional politics have consistently dominated the focus of US national interests, from its influence as an oil rich region to the rise of terrorist groups and to its overflowing cultural and political tensions. These issues exist amongst a complex yet not unfamiliar scene in which traditional diplomacy has been tried with varying success. However, throughout the world, states have come to increasingly bring into play a novel digital realm known as cyberspace. The cyberspace domain today has significantly transformed US foreign policy and Middle Eastern politics by creating new factors that have affected the regional/international political power struggle. More specifically, this paper will analyze the state cyber operations conducted by the United States and Iran, who have become key actors in both the Middle East and cyberspace. In doing so, this paper seeks to have a more extensive discussion on the use of state cyber capabilities and their effects on geopolitics and the Middle East.

Michelle Rodriguez is a senior at Duke University double-majoring in Public Policy and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies with a concentration in Arabic. Michelle will commission and serve as a U.S. Army officer after graduation.

Ruffa
Chapin Skye Ruffa

2nd Major AMES (Chinese)
Graduation with High Distinction
Outstanding AMES Honor Thesis Award

 

Thesis: "Umbrella as Weapon": Identity, Creativity, and Social Media in Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Movement

Abstract: The 2014 Umbrella Movement displayed a segment of Hong Kongers’ committed efforts to a democratic future for the city. While political, social, and economic unrest is not new to the city, especially since the early 1980s, the Umbrella Movement transformed the nature of protest in Hong Kong. This thesis sheds light on the movement by first discussing the identity of those who engaged in the protests. Then, it focuses on two key transformative aspects of the movement: the different modes of struggle and how these protesters communicated with each other, as well as with a greater audience to disseminate messages and updates around the world. The modes of struggle and the tactics utilized by protesters differed for each participant, yet they served as a means to motivate, encourage, and compel other Hong Kongers to join the fight for freedom and democracy in their city. Finally, this thesis concludes with a discussion of the long-lasting impacts of the Umbrella Movement, the evolving relationship between Hong Kong and Beijing, and how the goals of the protesters endured overtime and are still fought for today.

Our Spring 2021 Graduates

Bachelor of Arts, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
Ban
Juyoung Ban

2nd Major AMES 
Chinese Concentration

Barnett
Sheyann Chantel Barnett

2nd Major AMES
Korean Concentration

"I was born into a vibrant Caribbean household in Westchester, New York and raised in the South Bronx. I enjoy listening to Caribbean music, traveling, and learning about new languages and cultures."

Birik
Ahmed Salat Birik

2nd Major AMES
Arabic Concentration

Close
William Harold Close

2nd Major AMES
Middle East-Arabic Concentration

Coley
Anika "Niki" Coley

2nd Major AMES
Chinese Concentration

"I am a Chinese and Public Policy double major from New York City. After taking several AMES classes at Duke in which I expanded my interest in Asia-focused policy issues, I interned as a Research Analyst at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

"I started taking Chinese classes in middle school but did not have the opportunity to take cultural classes until I became an AMES major at Duke. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about so many East Asian cultures in combination with rigorous Chinese classes. I not only greatly improved my language skills but also expanded my knowledge of East Asian politics, religion, pop culture, and art."

Elbardissy
Shams Elbardissy

2nd Major AMES
Chinese Concentration

 

 

 

Graham
Charles Beck Graham

2nd Major AMES
Chinese Concentration

 
Halkidis
Brennan Robert Halkidis

1st Major AMES
Chinese Concentration

Brennan Halkidis grew up in Charlotte, N.C. with his mom, dad, older brother and sister, as well as his two dogs. After graduation, he is moving to New York City to work as a Global Capital Markets Analyst for Morgan Stanley.

Brennan had not originally planned on majoring in AMES; however, he quickly fell in love with the small-learning experience, the engaged professors, and the Chinese language and culture. He hopes to use his degrees in AMES and Economics to help bridge the intersection between American and Chinese business culture.

Kim
Min Soo Kim

2nd Major AMES
Japanese Concentration

 

 

Anna
Anna Fraher Klingensmith

2nd Major AMES
Arabic Concentration
Graduation with Distinction

 

Lamb
Elizabeth Atkinson Lamb

2nd Major AMES
Chinese Concentration


 

Renteria
Maria Guadalupe Renteria

2nd Major AMES
Arabic Concentration


 

Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez

2nd Major AMES
Arabic Concentration
Graduation with High Distinction

"Completed an Honors Thesis under the AMES department. My future plans involve commissioning as a U.S. Army officer and serving in the military."

"Each and every day, my instructors made the classroom a dynamic and inclusive environment where I was able to continuously challenge myself and grow as an academic and individual. I really enjoyed my time studying Arabic and connecting with the professors in the AMES department!"

Ruffa
Chapin Skye Ruffa

2nd Major AMES
Chinese Concentration
Outstanding AMES Honors Thesis Award
Graduation with High Distinction

"Hi! My name is Chapin, and I am a senior majoring in AMES with a concentration in Chinese. A bit of a background on me, I am extremely interested in politics and international affairs, and I am heavily invested in staying up to date with current events. After graduation, I plan to enter a position in finance in New York, NY. I have truly enjoyed my experience as an AMES major. I have become so close with my Chinese professors and have learned so much from them over the previous four years. The most fulfilling experience was completing my Senior Honors Thesis in the AMES department, which focused on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. I look forward to continuing the study of Chinese language and culture beyond my life at Duke."

Walter
Nicolas Bailey Walter

1st Major AMES
Chinese Concentration

 

 

 


 

Xu
Xiaoyu Xu

2nd Major AMES
East Asia-Japanese Concentration

Our Spring 2021 Graduates

Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Minors

Eric Matthew Andresen (Concentration: Chinese Language)

Dorian Patrick Barber (Concentration: Japanese Language)

Omar Rayan Benallal (Concentration: Arabic Literature)

John Thaddeus Bokman (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Jaravee Boonchant (Concentration: Japanese Language)

Anthony Gregory Cardellini (Concentration: Arabic Language)

Richard Chen (Concentration: Chinese Language)

Devon Dietrich (Concentration: Chinese Language)

Lillian Dukes (Concentration: Korean Language)

Madison Monroe Dunk (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Soraya Durand (Concentration: Middle East Literature- Arabic)

Natalie Esther Ecanow (Concentration: Middle East Literature- Hebrew)

Ariel Amber Fong (Concentration: Chinese Language)

Emma Glenn (Concentration: Japanese Literature)

Melody Yunhua Hong (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Cassidy Ann Joseph (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Sean Doi Kelly (Concentration: East Asia Literature- Japanese)

Nini Lam (Concentration: Chinese Language)

Jennifer Li (Concentration: East Asia Language- Chinese)

San Ha Lim (Concentration: Korean Literature)

Michael John Morgan (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Devika Shekhar Naphade (Concentration: Hindi Language)

Yuki Ueno Peters (Concentration: Chinese Language)

Valentina Saavedra (Concentration: Korean Language)

Asael Noe Salinas (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Vivian W Shing (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Valeria Silombria Vila (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Allayne Cherice Thomas (Concentration: Korean Language)

May Varakonmeethakul (Concentration: Korean Literature)

Yiran Wang (Concentration: East Asia Literature- Chinese)

Natalie Ann Weinrauch (Concentration: Chinese Language)

Qi wen Wong (Concentration: Chinese Language)

Xueqing Yun (Concentration: East Asia Literature- Japanese)

Abigail Anyue Zhang (Concentration: Chinese Literature)

Our Spring 2021 Graduates

Master of Arts in Critical Asian Humanities
Huang
Xiaoxu Huang

Thesis: The Ideology of Feminine Beauty in 21st Century China

Wang
Fangfei Wang

Thesis: Reimagining China: Reading Li Ziqi and Fangfang from Nationalist Perspective

Wee
Jing Long Wee

Thesis: Reading for Cosmotechnics: Dissipation, Enflaming and the Contemporary

Yan
Yuchen Yan

Thesis: Killing Me Softly in a Metropolis: Tales of Murder and Murderous Passion in Republican Shanghai (1911-1937)

Yu
Yue Yu

Thesis: Reading the Rotten: A Textual Analysis of Chinese Danmei and Dan'gai

Zhang
Huiqi Zhang

Thesis: The Cartography of Hong Kong Urban Space: Living and Walking in the Cinematic Cityscapes of Fruit Chan and Ann Hui

Zhou
Muyun Zhou

Thesis: "Art is to Sacrifice One's Death": The Aesthetic and Ethic of the Chinese Diasporic Artist Mu Xin