Two NYU Abu Dhabi Graduates Awarded Prestigious Yenching Scholarships

The scholarship promotes dialogue between China and the rest of the globe

Press Release

Two NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) alumni have been awarded the prestigious Yenching Scholarship by the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China. NYUAD Class of 2018 alumna Marie-Claude Hykpo and alumnus Juan Diego Serrano Ortega from the Class of 2020 will pursue a one-year interdisciplinary master’s program focused on studying China’s past, present, and future.

Marie-Claude Hykpo, who is French-Ivorian, graduated from NYUAD with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy. Marie-Claude has an interest in understanding Sino foreign policy and diplomacies, with a focus on China’s relationship with Africa and on Francophone West Africa. Following graduation, Hykpo is looking to become a public servant. 


“I applied to Yenching because I really wanted to deepen my understanding of China, especially its foreign policy and its various diplomacies. Thanks to NYUAD I have moved around all over the place and East Asia seemed like the perfect next destination for me and my interests. I'm also hoping that being immersed in Chinese culture and language will help me with my language skills. I'm planning on studying mainly politics and IR but I'm hoping to sprinkle in some econ, law, and philosophy courses. Post-study, I'd like to enter the Foreign Service and become a diplomat.”

Marie-Claude Hykpo

Serrano, originally from Argentina, majored in Economics at NYUAD and is a recent graduate in the University’s 2020 cohort. During his time at NYUAD, he studied abroad in Shanghai, New York, and Accra in Ghana. Serrano has a particular fascination with understanding China’s economic development, and the country’s poverty alleviation efforts.

Speaking about his receipt of the Yenching Scholarship, Serrano commented: “It is my great fascination with China and its development apparatus that drove me to apply to Yenching Academy. Through the program, I am eager to enrich my understanding of China’s economic development and poverty alleviation efforts, as well as develop the necessary skills to adapt to the changing role China is having in the world stage. I will follow the Economics and Management concentration of the program.”

The Yenching Scholarship was founded in 2015, and aims to foster a deeper connection and understanding between China and the globe. Scholars are placed into an immersive learning environment where they are able to explore China’s historical, contemporary, and future reality, be that in political, economic, cultural, or diplomatic fields. In addition, students participate in a wider range of extracurricular activities and field studies, enabling deeper intercultural exchange, interdisciplinary learning, and personal and professional development.

Six students from NYUAD have been awarded the Yenching Scholarship over the University’s ten-year history. In its first decade, NYUAD students have received a wide range of global scholarships and awards, including Rhodes Scholarships, Fulbright Awards, and Schwarzman Scholarships, among others.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.