Research Assistant, China Center, Foreign Policy (Job ID: 2024-3413)

Foreign Policy
Job Function
Posted Date
2 months ago(3/21/2024 5:23 PM)
Job ID
Commensurate with experience


Join one of the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tanks!  


The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.  


We bring together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world, rooted in open-minded inquiry and representing diverse points of view, who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis. Research topics cover a full range of public policy issues in economics, foreign policy, development, governance and metropolitan policy. 


With fair and transparent business practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that offers both professional and personal development opportunities, Brookings offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors. 


Foreign Policy at Brookings


Foreign Policy at Brookings is a leading center of policy-relevant scholarship exploring the rapidly re-ordering geopolitics of the major powers, and the disordering relations among states and transnational actors. In line with Brookings’s core values of quality, independence, and impact, our scholars provide concrete policy recommendations for how U.S. strategy, the international security architecture, and leading states should adapt to changing threats and opportunities.


Position Location: This position is hybrid. Hybrid positions combine regular in-person presence at our Washington, DC office with the option of at least two days of remote work each week.  


Vaccine Policy: Brookings requires all staff to submit proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19 to be in Brookings buildings.   


Individuals that (i) have a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination, or (ii) who object to being vaccinated based on a sincerely held religious belief, may request a reasonable accommodation.  Brookings policies on masks and other pandemic mitigation measures will continue to be informed by DC and CDC guidelines. 


Please note: This position is part of the union (Brookings United) and subject to the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement. 


Ready to contribute to Brookings success?


The Research Assistant works under the supervision of the Senior Fellow and Director of the John L. Thornton China Center (China Center) to provide research support, as well as administrative support and coordination, for the day-to-day operation of the Center and for certain Center events. The Research Assistant performs professional directed research and works with increasing independence locating and compiling source materials in both English and Mandarin Chinese for scholars on projects relating to U.S.-China relations, China’s domestic politics and society, and foreign policy. The Research Assistant also provides proactive support on event organization, scheduling, and travel, and may manage editing and publication processes or social media engagement on behalf of the China Center.


Research Assistance  (70%)

  • Supports China Center scholars in all aspects of policy research.
  • Conducts English and Chinese-language research on U.S.-China relations, China's domestic politics and society, and foreign policy.
  • Collects data for scholar research projects from both English- and Chinese-language sources, including government sources, public opinion surveys, books, journal articles, newspapers, and personal contacts; assembles unclassified government data, documents, and reports.
  • Reads primary and secondary sources for relevance to research themes; compiles bibliographies and chronologies; writes briefing memos; prepares notes on meetings and conferences; creates and maintains spreadsheets and databases.
  • Creates, updates, and confirms footnotes; provides fact-checking, copy-editing, and proofreading of publications.
  • Under guidance from scholars, drafts summary reports of fora, symposia, and conferences; drafts abstracts, summaries, analyses of books and articles, and narrative reports to funders.
  • May assist scholars in drafting remarks, blog posts, articles, book chapters, and presentations including the development and formatting of PowerPoint presentations.
  • May assist others in the Institution in the use of Chinese language on the Brookings website and social media as well as the English-to-Chinese translation of content for promotion purposes.
  • May draft communications in Chinese, including correspondence and targeted communications, on behalf of center scholars and staff.
  • Works with research assistants, scholars, and project managers to present center content in a timely and effective manner.


Administrative Support  (30%)

  • Assists in planning, organization, and execution of public and private events in Washington, D.C., Beijing, and in other locations, including in third countries.
  • Drafts event invitations and summaries with some editing required.
  • Follows direction of China Center Associate Director in recruiting and corresponding with event participants, reserving meeting rooms, equipment, and catering services; and developing an audience.
  • Works closely with China Center Associate Director to coordinate activities and administrative responsibilities; maintains strong working relationships and good communication with other China Center and FP staff.
  • Schedules appointments, makes travel arrangements and coordinates reimbursements.
  • Screens calls to determine purpose and nature of requests and where appropriate responds to inquiries.
  • In collaboration with China Center Associate Director and FP Administration staff, manages agreements with outside consultants and contractors.
  • Coordinates the maintenance and updating of mailing and invitation lists for China Center publications and events, as well as other contacts databases of officials, experts, journalists and regional actors relevant to China and U.S.-China relations.
  • Keeps detailed and accurate records of event participants and materials.
  • Maintains China Center contact database, including updating and expanding information on all contacts.
  • Works with Communications staff to update the center’s page on the Brookings website and social media accounts; posts China Center content and event information to the website. 
  • Coordinates with China Center and Communications staff to ensure publications are distributed to relevant and interested parties in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Develops and manages China Center newsletter in coordination and consultation with FP Communications and central Communications staff.
  • Coordinates closely with Foreign Policy and Brookings central Communications staff to ensure compliance with FP and Brookings standards and practices for all publications and outreach efforts.


Ready to make an impact? In this role, you will support Brookings values of collegiality, respect, inclusion, diversity and community, and bring the following qualifications:


Education/Experience Requirements:


A Bachelor’s degree in political science, international affairs, journalism, or related area is required. Minimum one year of relevant experience required. Candidates must be authorized to work for any employer in the U.S.


Knowledge/Skill Requirements:


Research: Ability to conduct professional qualitative policy research using primary and secondary sources, including Chinese language sources, is required. Demonstrated knowledge of U.S.-China relations, China’s politics and society, and foreign policy is required, and must develop knowledge of specific policy issues in support of scholars’ work. Additional background and understanding of broader international affairs are preferred. Must be able to identify, synthesize, and summarize Chinese- and English-language sources with minimal direction. 


Writing: Strong writing and editing skills are required, including the ability to write and edit English-language academic texts. Must be able to draft event announcements and invitations, event summaries, summary reports, and briefing memos under guidance. 


Technical skills: Ability to read and understand Chinese-language documents is required. Must be able to effectively use the Internet; and should possess advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office applications including Office 365. Familiarity with content management systems such as WordPress is preferred; working knowledge of web analytics tools such as Google Analytics is preferred.


Organizational skills: Must possess excellent organizational skills with high level of attention to detail in a fast-paced and high-volume environment. Must be able to contribute to management of complex processes from conception through completion; and be able to work independently, multi-task, prioritize, and complete tasks in a timely manner. 


Communication skills: Professional proficiency in Chinese is required; complete fluency in English is required. Must possess excellent communications skills, with ability to interact with all levels of internal and external stakeholders required. Up to date understanding of social media technology, strategies, and practices is required.


Interpersonal skills: Excellent interpersonal skills are required. Must be able to thrive in collaborative, team-based center. Must possess the flexibility, poise, tact, discretion, and mature judgment to handle and respond appropriately and professionally in high-pressure atmosphere.   


Additional Information


What can we offer you? Brookings provides a generous benefit package that is comprehensive and includes both traditional benefits and unique offerings.


Brookings requires that all applicants submit a cover letter and resume. Please attach your cover letter and resume as one document when you apply. Please note: if you have applied to more than one Brookings job opening you should add a position-specific cover letter as a separate attachment.


Successful completion of a background investigation is required for employment at Brookings.


Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms.  We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.


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