The Fulbright scholarship program “Building Resilience to Counter Chinese Influence” brings new and enhances existing critical research skills. The project also helps build imperative administrative capacity for applying and delivering on large scale research projects.
The programme is led by Dr Matthew D. Johnson and focuses on China’s infrastructure ambitions in the Baltic region. The programme is supported by U.S. Department of State Fulbright Specialist Program and is carried out in co-operation with Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (EFPI) and Tallinn University. Under the guidance EFPI’s research fellow Frank Jüris, the programme aims to enhance research capabilities of junior researchers Rebeka Kalam and Rüüt Kaljula by conducting research on Chinese infrastructure projects and their impact on national security and foreign policy.
In co-operation with Tallinn University, an introductory lecture taught by Dr. Johnson was organised to attract new students to pursue degrees in Chinese studies. In addition, closed-door roundtable discussions on Sino-Russian relations titled “China, Russia, and a New Cold War?” was organised at the International Centre for Defence and Security for policy-makers, scholars, security and foreign policy experts and journalists. We are grateful for the opportunity to host Dr Johnson and the knowledge and experience he brought to the programme. We also would like to thank especially the diligent contribution of junior researchers.
Dr Matthew D. Johnson is an expert on Chinese elite politics, strategic thinking, propaganda, and influence. He is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution through its China’s Global Sharp Power Program. Previously Dr. Johnson taught China’s history and politics at the University of Oxford and was an affiliated researcher with the China’s War with Japan Programme and University of Oxford China Centre. He has an AB in Social Studies (Harvard University) and PhD in History (University of California, San Diego). Matthew has been a U.S. Fulbright fellow, member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and board member of the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange.
Frank Jüris, Research Fellow, EFPI at the ICDS, focuses his research on Chinese domestic and foreign policy, EU-China and Sino-Russian relations. Jüris studied in Estonia and Taiwan and has lectured at the University of Tartu and Tallinn University. In recent publications for EFPI and Sinopsis, he has exposed the involvement of party-state agencies in Arctic infrastructure projects and Estonian politics.
Rebeka Kalam is interested in Chinese foreign policy and its influence on the Baltic region. Rebeka has a BA, in Asian studies and currently completing an MA in the same field at Tallinn University. Her research focuses on China’s cyber diplomacy and cyber-nationalism. She has also completed her Mandarin studies at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan.
Rüüt Kaljula has a BA degree in financial management and studied corporate finance in his MA studies. He spent three years of his life in Taiwan during which he took MBA courses at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology and Chinese language courses at the National Taiwan Normal University. In addition to Chinese, Rüüt can also speak Korean. He has previously worked as an analyst and translator at Swedbank. Rüüt has had keen interest in East Asia’s political, security and economic developments for more than a decade.