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Between 2015 and 2020 I was a BA and MA student of Oriental Languages and Cultures (Sinology) at Ghent University. In September 2020 I finished my MA with summa cum laude honours plus the congratulations of the examination board.
Contemporary Chinese history and politics has been my main research focus since the start of my BA. After writing “practice theses” on Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping during my BA (Dutch BA thesis: Deng Xiaoping bewandelt het pad der Democratie: democratisering in Chinese context), I had the opportunity to publish an article on the European Union’s engagement with China’s BRI during my MA’s internship at the Egmont Institute (Remolding China’s ‘Empty’ Belt and Road Initiative: An Opportunity for the EU). Subsequently, I wrote my graduation thesis on the starkly divergent reform paths of the CCP and KMT despite their seemingly similar Leninist origins (Democratization of Leninist Parties: Causes for the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese Nationalist Party’s Divergence of Reform Outcomes during the Late 20th Century).
Having gotten infected with the “research bug” through the many academic assignments of my BA and MA, I decided to pursue a PhD mandate on an enigmatic historical Chinese figure: the Chinese statesman Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925). Supported by a BOF (UGent Special Research Fund) grant, my mandate started in November 2020 under the supervision of prof. dr. Bart Dessein. A year later I succesfully applied for the FWO fundamental PhD research grant, of which I am to be a recipient between November 2021 and October 2025.