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The Phillips Ambassadors congregate in two rows, smiling at the camera.
The newest Phillips Ambassadors for summer and fall 2023. (photo by Jon Gardiner)

Fourteen undergraduates from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were selected as Phillips Ambassadors for summer and fall 2023 study abroad programs in Asia. These distinguished scholarship recipients will study in India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.

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 each receive a $6,000 scholarship. 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, presentations, art exhibitions, 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. Since then, more than 450 Carolina undergraduates have studied abroad in Asia as Phillips Ambassadors. Applications for 2024 spring study abroad programs and scholarships are due on September 10.

The new Phillips Ambassadors are listed below alphabetically by North Carolina county, followed by out-of-state recipients.



David Soltani of Thomasville is studying through National University of Singapore Business School. He is a business and Asian studies double major.


Rose Houck of McLeansville is studying through Mahidol University in Thailand. She is an environmental sciences major, and a statistics and analytics minor.


Xenia Weakly of Clayton is studying through Nanzan University in Japan. She is an English and communications double major.


Mason Harkleroad of Charlotte is studying through National Taiwan University. She is a global studies and economic double major, and a Chinese minor.

Micah Morton-James of Charlotte is studying through UNC Phillips Summer in Taiwan. He is a history major.

Jack Snyder of Cornelius is studying through UNC Summer in Japan. He is a history and Asian studies double major.


Tia Malika Chawla of Chapel Hill is studying through Chulalongkorn University Business School in Thailand. She is a business and global studies double major.


Paul Cabin of Brevard is interning through the Kenan-Flagler Global Programs international internship program in Singapore. He is a business major and a public policy and sustainability double minor.


Jordan Cuffee of Holly Springs is studying through National University of Singapore. She is a political science major, and a Spanish for the professions and African American and diasporas studies double minor.

Ethan Delves of Raleigh is studying through Yonsei University in South Korea. He is a philosophy and economics double major, and a statistics and analytics minor.

Kyra Koons of Raleigh is studying through CIEE Taiwan. She is a global studies major and an entrepreneurship minor.

Dika Manne of Raleigh is studying and interning through CET Taiwan. She is a computer science and Chinese double major.

Myles Emmanuel Solomon of Raleigh is studying through National University of Singapore. He is a psychology major and education minor.


Sara Joly of Dayton, Ohio, is studying through SIT India. She is a human and organizational leadership development major.

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