MREI Alumna Wins Global Essay Competition

Joan Nyangena MREI ’20
Joan Nyangena

Joan Nyangena (MREI ’20) has been selected as one of the top three winning contributors to this year’s Global Essay Competition Award at the 50th St. Gallen Symposium for her essay “The Pursuit of a more Equitable, Multilateral & Collaborative Belt and Road Initiative”. The symposium offers a platform for cross-generational debate between young Leaders of Tomorrow and current senior decision makers around the globe.

While in Kenya last year, Nyangena experienced first-hand the changing infrastructure landscape facilitated by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects. Therefore, choosing to write about the BRI – one of the most ambitious mega infrastructure projects that is shaping the 21st century – became a natural choice.

The BRI was also a topic of discussion in a workshop class at Schulich, so she was well informed of its issue. In her essay, she discusses China’s financing approach, construction delivery, implementation strategy and governance dynamic outlining how they pose imbalanced risks to vulnerable emerging economies. Nyangena highlights these risks, exemplifying how they are tearing away at the fabric of trust that has been weaving together China and its BRI member countries. She made three main recommendations for change and presented them at the symposium winning her the St. Gallen Wings of Excellence Award.

“The essay competition was a great opportunity to spark dialogue on a global platform about an international issue,” said Nyangena. “I was able to make a direct impact by opening up discussion with senior decision leaders, utilizing what I learned about infrastructure development at Schulich.”