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Elaine Li

Pearson Fellow Alum


Elaine Li, MPP'19, is a foreign service officer with USAID. She is currently a country desk officer in the Bureau for Asia, where she serves as the key conduit of communication between Washington and field missions and addresses inquiries from the interagency, Congress, media, and external partners to maintain positive working relationships and promote collaboration. A Donald M. Payne Fellow, she worked for the USAID Ethiopia Mission's Office of Education and Youth in summer of 2018.

While at Harris Public Policy, Li worked as a research assistant with the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab and contributed to The Economist, where she helped to develop the framework for the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index. 

Prior to her time at the University of Chicago, Li worked in Shenzhen, China as a consultant with EIC Education, mentoring youths and leading bilingual training for local staff. She has also completed internships with two bureaus of the U.S. Department of State—the Office of Foreign Assistance Resources and the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. 

Li holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in international politics with a certificate in Asian studies. Through a Critical Language Scholarship, she studied in Qingdao, China, and later continued her language studies at Peking University in Beijing. 

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.