INternational Development

Center Head

Michael Choi - TC '21

Kueho (Michael) Choi is a first-year student and the International Development Center Head for 2018. He is originally from Los Angeles, CA but now lives in Maryland near Washington D.C. He is in Trumbull college and is looking to be a Economics and Mathematics major. At Yale, Kueho is also involved in the Club Tae Kwon Do team, the Teaching Peace Initiative, Yale Model United Nations, and the Yale International Relations Association. As a loyal southern Californian, he wholeheartedly believes that In-N-Out is much better than Shake Shack. He is a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, consumes more bubble tea than he likes to admit, and is excited for the coming semester in Roosevelt!



Farah Emory-Muhammad is a first-year in Silliman and a prospective Economics & Global Affairs major. Farah grew up in the Metropolitan D.C. area and attended a Spanish immersion school and the National Cathedral School. This will be Farah’s first semester as co-head of the International Development Center at the Roosevelt Institute. Outside of Roosevelt, Farah’s interests include East Asian Studies, Spanish history, and language study. She enjoys hiking, visiting art museums, searching for her next favorite restaurant, and watching The Crown. 


Center Members:

This could be you. 


This semester, the center heads of the International Development center would like to conduct quantitative and qualitative research on China’s recent engagement in African countries as a form of economic and international development. Over the past couple of decades, the Chinese government and non-governmental organizations and individuals have invested into African infrastructure, manufacturing, telecommunications, and agricultural sectors through a direct, physical presence in African countries. In addition, Chinese banks and government organizations have provided loans and aid to African countries, specifically Angola, the DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan. From 2000 to 2014, Chinese banks, contractors, and the government loaned out more than 86 billion dollars to African countries. Additionally, China surpassed the United States as Africa’s largest trade partner in 2009.

We would like to propose further research into China’s engagement in Africa, with initial research into the “why, what, when, how, and where” questions  with emphasis on the following questions: 1) Does China’s involvement in Africa reflect the West’s colonial past in the continent and if so, to what extent does China’s involvement reflect the same patterns of exploitation, racism, and dynamics of power, 2) Should we interpret this phenomenon as Chinese development or African development, 3) Have Chinese actors promoted good governance and human rights in Africa,  4) and lastly, what are the overarching consequences of China’s engagement in Africa. We are also interested in debating the feasibility of unbiased research on China’s engagement in Africa, as most of the existing research and literature on the subject is from the West.

We have already identified several sources of academic research and partnerships. A good starting place would be to reach out to Yale Professor Jing Tsu, who has studied contemporary China and its recent geopolitical actions over the past couple of years. She has identified several books and research papers that dispute China’s engagement in Africa, including Deborah Braughtingam’s “The Dragon’s Gift”, Hasan M. Karrar’s “The New Silk Road Diplomacy: China’s Central Asian Foreign Policy since the Cold War”, Howard French’s “China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa”, and Ching Kwan Lee’s “The Sphere of Global China”. A partnership with the China in Africa Research Initiative at the School of Advanced Studies at John Hopkins would also be fruitful, as it has already collected extensive data and research into China-Africa relations. Additionally, we could potentially reach out to Michigan State University, as they currently hold the world’s largest research hub on China-Africa relations and consolidated existing projects on the phenomenon.