WELCOMING THE NEWEST F&ES ADMISSIONS AMBASSADOR, DAVID J. SOLOMON

WELCOMING THE NEWEST F&ES ADMISSIONS AMBASSADOR, DAVID J. SOLOMON

Howdy everyone,

My name is David J. Solomon, a second-year Master of Environmental Management (MEM) candidate specializing in Business and the Environment at F&ES and a new Admissions Ambassador for the F&ES Admissions Office. My interests exist at the intersection of entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability, with a longstanding and deep passion for China and the role Chinese investments can improve environmentally development strategies for projects in China, as well as overseas through the country’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

David and his two research partners, Aaron Feng and Paul Hatanga, touring Kenya's Standard Gauge Railway project inside of Nairobi National Park during March 2019

David and his two research partners, Aaron Feng and Paul Hatanga, touring Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway project inside of Nairobi National Park during March 2019

During my time at F&ES, I have focused in particular on China’s investment practices in East Africa, including the environmental, social, and economic implications of China’s development strategies in the region, and am currently engaged in two ongoing research projects centered around this realm. The first of these projects focuses on the Chinese financed and constructed Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya—and planned construction in Uganda—for which I have worked under Yale McCluskey Fellow, Dr. Helen Gichohi, and traveled to both countries to conduct fieldwork alongside classmates Paul Hatanga and Aaron Feng. Aaron, Paul, and I are currently synthesizing our findings from this trip while planning a follow-up comparative study in the region. For my other big research project, I have worked under F&ES Professor Marian Chertow to study Rwanda’s domestic textiles policy planning and China’s role in this market, and traveled alongside Professor Chertow and Ph.D classmate Matt Gordon to Tanzania and Rwanda to examine these topics from both national and regional perspectives.

Upon completing my MEM in May, I hope to apply this growing knowledge toward an entrepreneurial career dealing with improving China’s global environmental footprint, including in East Africa. My goals include developing a product or service that can help enhance sustainable practices for Chinese companies operating at home and abroad, and perhaps launch my own consulting service that advises Chinese companies on sustainable investment practices in Africa.

David with his other research team, Professor Marian Chertow and classmate Matt Gordon, touring the Chinese C&H Garments Rwanda Ltd facility in Kigali, Rwanda's special economic zone during June 2019

David with his other research project partners, Professor Marian Chertow and classmate Matt Gordon, touring the Chinese C&H Garments Rwanda Ltd facility at the special economic zone in Kigali, Rwanda during June 2019

Prior to beginning at Yale, I was a Business Advisory Services Manager for the U.S.-China Business Council in Washington, D.C., where I advised U.S. companies operating across sectors within China, particularly on issues regarding environmental compliance, as well as opportunities for U.S. companies to contribute corporate solutions to China’s accelerating sustainability agenda. During this time, I coordinated frequently with the U.S. and Chinese governments on various environmental initiatives led or contributed to by U.S. companies operating in China. Before this experience, I lived in China for three years, where I studied intensive Mandarin at Tsinghua University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, and Suzhou University, and also led communications and internet finance initiatives for a Beijing-based microfinance startup lending to entrepreneurs in Inner Mongolia, Chongqing, and other regions of Western China. I received my B.A. from Skidmore College, with majors in International Affairs and Political Science and a minor in Chinese language.

I look forward to this new chapter representing the F&ES Admissions Office and am pleased to share more about my experiences at F&ES and how I expect them to contribute to my long-term passions and career goals.