Two UChicago students, one alum named Schwarzman Scholars

Fourth-year Xavier Wu and graduate student Edris Tajik to pursue graduate study in China

University of Chicago fourth-year student Xavier Wu and graduate student Edris Tajik have been selected as Schwarzman Scholars and will study next year at a top institution in China.

Wesley Fang, AB’23, was also named to the 2024 class of Schwarzman Scholars, which aims to cultivate global leaders and provide them with a comprehensive understanding of China's role in shaping the 21st century. 

Wu received interview support from the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF), which supports College students and alums applying for nationally competitive fellowships.

Xavier Wu

Though he is originally from Nanjing, China, Xavier Wu has not spent significant time in his home country since he moved to St. Louis to attend high school. 

Wu will return to China through the Schwarzman Scholars program next fall to pursue a master's degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University. 

The one-year degree, which Wu likened to the College’s Core curriculum, offers an interdisciplinary blend of foundational courses and diverse electives, including leadership classes, social impact initiatives, entrepreneurship, etc. It also takes students on a one-month, immersive trip through various parts of China—from rural to industrial areas.

“I’m looking forward to embracing the opportunity and having this experience to understand the evolving global landscape better,” he said. 

As an international student, Wu acknowledged the challenges of starting his career in the United States and expressed his eagerness to explore career paths beyond the conventional. He said he sees the Schwarzman program's career mentorship program as a crucial resource, offering personalized guidance from leaders across industries.

“I’m just hoping to see a greater perspective, which will allow me to solve a bigger problem,” he said. “I think this program will definitely give me a platform where I see the world from a better angle.”

Wu said the honor gives him a profound sense of recognition and will help ease his transition to the professional world.

“This helps me take a step back, take another look at myself,” he said. “I plan to use this year as an experience I’ll go into with an open mind. I'm excited, and I feel a sense of peace.”

Edris Tajik

As a politics major and master’s student in UChicago’s Committee on International Relations, Edris Tajik studies how to deploy theory to explain both history and current events.

Tajik came to UChicago this fall after finishing a politics degree at Bard College in New York. Because his research focuses on the relations between the U.S. and China, the Schwarzman Scholars program is an ideal avenue for his intellectual interests.

“The opportunity to deepen my understanding of China, as well as meeting and collaborating with scholars from around the world, are among the key reasons why I applied for the Schwarzman Scholars program,” Tajik said.

Navigating the complex relationship of two great powers is no small task. Nonetheless, Tajik's research incorporates nuanced regional trends as well, examining how these dynamics influence—and are influenced by—small states. His enduring interest in these relations is deeply informed by his education and activism as a student in Afghanistan before the U.S. withdrawal in August 2021.

“Studying U.S. and China relations is crucial, not only because it involves Washington and Beijing, but also because this relationship has a profound impact on every part of the world,” he said.

Tajik, a recipient of a Dean’s Scholarship and a Maroon Research Scholarship, is excited to take what he’s learned at UChicago to the Schwarzman program.

“Academically, the CIR program at UChicago has undoubtedly allowed me to enhance my understanding of international relations. Additionally, the vibrant community here provides a great opportunity to exchange ideas with other students,” he said.

In the future, Tajik plans to work in Washington, D.C. in the field of international relations. Along the way, he’s considering the possibility of a Ph.D. He’s committed to the relationship between theory and practice.

“While some might argue that theory does not matter, I believe it is the foundation of foreign policy,” Tajik said. “It not only acts as a roadmap for the foreign policies of states but also serves as a tool to explain how they work.”