A headshot of Georgetown alumna Neval Mulaomerovic, who wears black and stands in front of a stone wall.
Category: Alumni

Title: Recent Graduate Awarded 2024 Yenching Scholarship in China

Neval Mulaomerovic (SFS’24), a recent graduate of the School of Foreign Service, has been selected for the Yenching Academy of Peking University, a competitive master’s program in China.

Four Georgetown graduates and Yenching scholars stand in front of a sign welcoming them to the Yenching Academy opening ceremony.
(From left to right) Georgetown’s 2023 Yenching Scholars Nozomi Asamura (SFS’23), Isabella Lu (SFS’20), Michelle Ng (SFS’22), and Serena Liu (SFS’22) pose together at the academy’s 2023 opening ceremony.

Mulaomerovic was chosen alongside 106 scholars from 38 countries and regions for the program, which focuses on China’s past and future role in the world. She is the 15th Georgetown student to be accepted to the Yenching Academy, including 2023 Scholars Nozomi Asamura (SFS’23), Isabella Lu (SFS’20), Michelle Ng (SFS’22) and Serena Liu (SFS’22).

Mulaomerovic will begin her program in Beijing this fall. While a student at Georgetown, she spent four years as an undergraduate research fellow in the university’s Mortara Center for International Studies, a fellowship that deepened her interest in East Asia and global governance.

“From our first very advising session, Neval brought enthusiasm and focus to the application process, strongly connecting her previous experiences to the learning opportunities presented by Yenching Academy and her future goals,” said Bill Cessato, deputy director of the Center for Research & Fellowships. “My colleagues at the center and I congratulate Neval on being accepted by this competitive program.”

Mulaomerovic grew up paying attention to foreign policy and global governance. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. during the Bosnian War, which sparked her interest in conflict studies and United Nations issues. 

“Having a family from Bosnia, which has experienced the highs and lows of global governance institutions, really shaped my worldview,” she said. “My foreign policy interest was built from an early age.”

Mulaomerovic, who grew up in Milpitas, California, wanted to better understand those institutions and improve them. She was drawn to Georgetown for its international relations curriculum, DC location and community of students who “care about what’s going on in the world,” she said.

Neval Mulaomerovic stands in front of flags at the United Nations.
Mulaomerovic at the United Nations office in Geneva in June 2022, where she volunteeed as a student organizer for the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) and supported her faculty mentor, Lise Howard, the president of ACUNS.

While in her first year at Georgetown, she was accepted to be a Mortara Center Fellow, an apprenticeship program that pairs five to six students with faculty to gain hands-on research experience throughout their four years. Mulaomerovic worked with Lise Howard, a professor of government and foreign service and president of the Academic Council on the United Nations System.

In addition to her fellowship and international relations courses, Mulaomerovic also took courses in Chinese, a language she has studied since age 12.

She was eager to apply her language skills in real-time and studied abroad in East Asia her junior year. In the fall semester, she studied and interned in Taiwan before spending her spring semester in South Korea, where she sought to better understand post-conflict reconstruction. 

That summer, Mulaomerovic conducted research in Japan on the country’s security policies, a project funded by the Mortara fellowship and Georgetown’s Lisa J, Raines Fellowship, which supports undergraduate students’ summer research projects. The experiences were formative and focused her interest on East Asia, specifically China.

“Coming away from all three of those experiences affirmed the need to go to China because everything I studied in those three locations came back to Chinese politics — how China impacts regional interactions and geopolitics,” she said. “I just knew that studying in China would inform my studies of everything else in the region and U.S. politics and foreign policy in general.”

Neval Mulaomerovic at her graduation from Georgetown in 2024. She wears a black graduation gown and smiles in front of a stone building.
Mulaomerovic at her graduation from Georgetown in 2024.

Mulaomerovic said she was thrilled to learn of her acceptance to the Yenching Academy — her top post-graduation choice — and hopes to travel throughout China and learn more about Chinese politics and international relations during the program. One day, she hopes to work at the United Nations and continue to pursue global governance reform, the topic that’s motivated her since she was little.

As she prepares for her studies this fall, Mulaomerovic said she feels grateful for the strong foundation that Georgetown has given her.

“It’s cheesy to say the Georgetown community stays together forever, but it really does,” she said. “There’s a sense of continued commitment to the school and the community among the alumni. 

“That’s very reassuring for me that even if I’m going abroad for two years, I can still come back to DC. I can still come back to Georgetown, and I know that there will still be a place for me.”