APSI Staff use their diverse professional and academic backgrounds in support of APSI’s many programs and opportunities.


Richard Jaffe

APSI Faculty Director; Professor of Religious Studies

Jaffe's areas of expertise include Zen Buddhism, clerical marriage in modern Japanese Buddhism, the works of D.T. Suzuki, and religion and Japanese Empire. View his full profile here.





Eileen chow

Director of Graduate Studies 

Eileen Cheng-yin Chow 周成蔭 is Associate Professor of the Practice in Chinese and Japanese Cultural Studies at Duke University, and one of the founding directors of Story Lab at Duke. Eileen received her A.B. in Literature from Harvard and her Ph.D in Comparative Literature at Stanford. 



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Alex Nickley

Interim Assistant Director

Alex manages the MA and certificate programs in East Asian Studies and assists with running APSI's programs and activities, fiscal management, and planning. He is an APSI alumnus (MA 2015) with a keen interest in China and the environment. Prior to rejoining APSI, Alex served as Assistant Director for Middlebury in China: Kunming and CET Academic Programs in Yunnan.  He was also one of the founding members of the Middlebury School of the Environment in Yunnan, having served both as Resident Director and instructor.  Alex is a speaker of Chinese, avid birder and creator of the Franklin Center's Campus Bird of the Week.



Renate Kwon

APSI Communications Coordinator; Southeast Asia Research Group Program Manager

Renate serves as communications coordinator for APSI and as program manager for the Southeast Asia Research Group (SEAREG). In this capacity, she plans conferences and events (online as well as in person), maintains websites and social media, and helps coordinate study abroad opportunities for graduate students. She has a master’s degree in Pacific International Affairs from UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (now the School of Global Policy and Strategy). She is proficient in German with intermediate Korean ability and has also studied Japanese and French.




Xiaojuan Ping

APSI Program Coordinator

Xiaojuan manages APSI's event planning, visiting scholar programs, as well as its finance and accounting. She also coordinates the DUCIGS Rethinking Diplomacy Program. Prior to joining Duke, she served as a Program Associate with the non-profit organization North Carolina Asian Americans Together and worked as a Research Assistant at the National University of Singapore. She obtained her MSc in International Political Economy from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and has published several books about popular culture and social movements in Asia and beyond. 




Yan Li

APSI Associate in Research

Yan received her BA in English at Beijing Normal University and her Ph.D. in History at the University of Connecticut. Until December 2021, Yan served as APSI's Associate Director.  Yan will continue to support APSI through Spring 2022.