Tianxia Fellowship Programme Details

(天下学者计划)

About the Fellowship

Humanity might be facing ever more complex and high-stakes problems. It does not seem that any country can solve them on their own. “Tianxia (天下) ”, an ancient Chinese concept modernised by contemporary philosophers , embodies the idea of a universal civilisational order for all humanity. In such an order, multiple civilisations seek dialogue and the achievement of shared commonality through equal interactions. We resonate with the modern interpretation of the term and believe that international cooperation is crucial to making long-term progress on the challenges we all face.

To further the goals of our organisation (see About Us), the Fellowship aims to cultivate leaders dedicated to affecting the long-term future through “macrostrategy-driven work”. This type of work is grounded on a robust understanding of macrostrategic considerations such as which technologies are most likely to be transformative at a timescale of decades and what the largest levers in the world are for affecting these. During the programme, fellows are expected to gain knowledge about China, AI safety, global catastrophic biological risks, and risks from great power conflicts, by visiting relevant organisations and engaging with prominent thinkers in the fields. After programme completion, fellows may continue to have access to mentorship and opportunities for collaboration.

To increase the chances of making a long-term difference on any single problem, it is important to have an understanding of many cause areas and crucial considerations. For example, the timelines of global catastrophic biological risks and great power conflicts could be relevant to making progress on AI safety. We therefore welcome applications from people who would like to gain robust coverage of various pressing causes while zeroing in on a focus area.

Programme Structure

The programme aims to equip fellows with big-picture thinking, connections, and career planning insights crucial to their pursuit of macrostrategy-driven work. Through the programme, fellows will engage deeply with researchers and staff at organisations which share our goals, and acquire the latest insights and strategic thinking on improving the world’s pressing problems in the China context. The programme is structured by the below activities, and we expect fellows to attend all of them:

Online Sessions

We want fellows to prepare for getting the most value out of the programme activities. Fellows will read relevant materials in advance and discuss concepts and writings on a particular topic for each session. These sessions will be collaborative, and most sessions will be led by fellows themselves.

Mohist Autumn Summit

Mohist Summits are biannual events run by our organisation, and they are crucial to the development of our network of China specialists. The Summits bridge aspiring China specialists with their international counterparts to build common knowledge and strategise about making progress on pressing causes.

EA Global London Conference

EA Global is a biannual gathering of people who care about doing the most good by using evidence and reasoning, and many of the participants and speakers share our interest in global peace and improving the long-term welfare of the world. Fellows will gain knowledge, connections and inspiration from attending the talks and interacting with other participants at the conference (Agenda of a previous event).

Organisation Visits

These visits are a valuable opportunity for fellows to engage deeply with people working at organisations which support our goals and have gained useful insights to share. Engagement will take form in presentations, seminars, 1-1 meetings, and social meals. The following are the organisations and teams that fellows will be visiting and example topics we would like fellows to learn about from them:

Programme Sponsorship

Expenses incurred in the above events are covered by the programme. If a further stipend is needed, please let us know in the application email. We do not want anyone to miss out on this opportunity because of financial constraints. Please reach out to the Programme Manager Alicia Huang (aliciahuangty@gmail.com) if you have any questions or concerns.

Participants of the Mohist Autumn Summit may still access transportation sponsorship without being accepted by the Tianxia Fellowship. There might also be separate sponsorship for attending the EA Global London conference.

Opportunities Afterwards

We hope that fellows will be in a better position to go into various fields of macrostrategy-driven work after the fellowship: directly pursuing research or facilitating research; community-building; grant-making; advising Chinese and foreign organisations. Fellows can continue participating in our network of China specialists and receiving support from us on their macrostrategy-driven work.

Here are some opportunities and examples of macrostrategy-driven work that fellows might like to explore after the programme:

Who we are looking for?

We welcome people from different backgrounds and levels of seniority. The programme is particularly a good fit for people who are keen to acquire big-picture thinking and pursue macrostrategy-driven work. We will primarily consider candidates who are:

Though not a requirement, candidates who have strong expertise in a pressing cause area will stand out.

Application

Stage 1 - Submit application

Please fill out the application form before July 31st, 2019 (GMT+8). If you can’t use that link, you can use this one instead.

The online session proposal should include:

Stage 2 - Interviews (30 mins)

Based on the applications, we will invite promising candidates for an interview. We plan to conduct all interviews between August 3st and August 13th and announce the result to applicants on August 16th.

If you have any questions about the programme or uncertainty about applying, feel free to reach out to Alicia ( aliciahuangty@gmail.com ).

All qualified applicants will be consideredwithout regards to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship or national origin. We are happy to make any reasonable accommodations necessary to welcome all to apply for the programme. Please contact us to discuss adjustments to the application process.

About Us

Founded by Brian Tse, the Center for Long Term Priorities (CLTP) is an independent think tank dedicated to improving the long-term welfare of the world. We believe that many of the biggest and most neglected global issues over the next century concern global catastrophic risks, such as pandemics, risks from emerging technologies and climate change. China will play a key role in determining the outcome of many of these issues. It will be difficult to solve any of these global problems without better coordination between Chinese organizations and their international equivalents.

Brian Tse is a Senior Advisor at the Partnership on AI and a Policy Affiliate with the University of Oxford’s Center for the Governance of AI. His current work focuses on improving global coordination in AI safety and security. He has advised or collaborated with OpenAI, Google DeepMind, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Tsinghua University Institute of AI and the leading drafter of the Beijing AI Principles. He was the first Chinese representative to deliver a keynote presentation at the Asilomar Conference on Beneficial AI. Brian has also advised major authors on the Chinese translation and publication of their work, including Superintelligence, Life 3.0, and Human Compatible.

Apart from his work on AI, Brian regularly consults a multi-billion-dollar foundation on their grantmaking in China. As an advisor at 80,000 Hours, he has been invited to give a talk on the topic of China specialists at the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University. His work and opinion has been cited in the Guardian, Hong Kong Economist Times and Synced Review. Formerly, Brian worked as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan, focusing on the financial technology industry in China.

The Tianxia Fellowship is managed by Alicia Huang. Alicia coordinates efforts in building a network of China specialists, including fellowships, events and other initiatives at CLTP. Prior to joining the organisation, she worked on improving the rural education and established a charity for promoting effective philanthropy. She is a mentor at the Center for Applied Rationality and has worked on community projects at Giving What We Can. She recently worked at the China Development Brief, which is China’s first independent information platform for civil society based in Beijing. Alicia graduated with a MSc Globalisation and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies.