Seventeen undergraduates selected as UNC Phillips Ambassadors

Seventeen undergraduates from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been selected as Phillips Ambassadors for Summer and Fall 2019 study abroad programs in Asia. In addition, one anthropology doctoral student was awarded a Graduate Phillips Ambassador award for research in Thailand this summer.

2019 Phillips Ambassadors
Ambassador and Mrs. Phillips gather with new Phillips Ambassadors at a luncheon at The Carolina Club on April 10 (photo by Jeyhoun Allebaugh/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Undergraduate scholarship recipients will study in Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

The Phillips Ambassadors Program is a program of UNC’s Carolina Asia Center, in association with the Study Abroad Office. Phillips Ambassadors are selected twice a year and receive $5,000 each. Ambassadors attending the inaugural UNC Phillips Summer in Shanghai program at NYU Shanghai this summer will receive $7,000. Selection is based on strong communication skills, intellectual curiosity and engagement, academic achievement, evidence of generous service to the campus and wider community, and a previous record of leadership.

Twenty-five percent of the scholarships are reserved for qualified undergraduate business majors and minors at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Up to two scholarships each year are available to qualified Duke University undergraduates.

Phillips Ambassadors choose from more than 70 academic programs in Asia that are approved by the College of Arts & Sciences and Kenan-Flagler Business School. Scholarship recipients enroll in a three-credit hour global studies course designed uniquely for them. Led by UNC’s Earl N. Phillips Jr. Distinguished Professor of International Studies, Dr. Michael Tsin, the course challenges students to explore their study abroad locale in significant detail and seek understanding of the region in a global context.

A distinguishing feature of the program is an emphasis on what is called a “Give Back,” or sharing of one’s study abroad experience in Asia with the Carolina community and the student’s hometown. In accepting the scholarship, students agree to fulfill a Give Back related to their study abroad experience. Give Backs include endeavors such as published articles, classroom presentations at a student’s hometown high school, photo and art exhibitions, musical performances and group projects focused on Asia.

The Phillips Ambassadors Program is made possible through a gift from Carolina alumnus Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr., an entrepreneur and former U.S. ambassador, and his family.

“Our goal with this gift has been to encourage more students to spend their study abroad experiences focused on Asia — an increasingly vital region of the future,” said Phillips, who splits his time between High Point and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The first group of Phillips Ambassadors studied abroad in Asia in the summer of 2007. By the end of 2019, 337 Carolina undergraduates will have studied abroad in Asia as Phillips Ambassadors.

Read more on the newly selected UNC Phillips Ambassadors at