Bulelani Jili

Meta Research PhD Fellow | Harvard University

Bulelani Jili is a meta research Ph.D. fellow at Harvard University. His research interests include Africa-China relations, cybersecurity, ICT development, African political economy, internet policy, Chinese business law, law and development and privacy law. He is also a visiting fellow at Yale Law School; a fellow at the Atlantic Council; cybersecurity fellow at the Belfer Center and is conducting research with the China, law, development project at Oxford University. The project, funded by the European Research Council, is a 5-year, interdisciplinary and multi-sited research project that aims to understand the nature of the order that underlies China’s new globalism. He has also advised leading think tanks, governments and watchdogs such as the American Bar Association, Atlantic Council, Freedom House, UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, U.S. State Department, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Mr. Jili’s writing has appeared in leading think tanks and publications like African Affairs, Nature, Theory, Culture, and Society, Mail & Guardian, Africa is a Country, The Elephant, South China Morning Post, African Center for Strategic Studies, Politico and Financial Times. He is also a regular panelist and speaker at international conferences.

Mr. Jili has received numerous awards, honors and fellowships including the Wenner-Gren dissertation fieldwork fellowship, meta research Ph.D. fellowship, Yenching scholarship, merit & term-time research fellowship, Standard Bank Africa chairman’s scholarship award, Oppenheimer graduate fellowship fund and Orrick fellowship.

Mr. Jili serves as a committee member at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association global initiative on ethics of AI systems. At Harvard, he sits on the board of directors and policy team member on the Harvard COVID-19 taskforce students vs pandemics initiative; department representative and funding committee member on the graduate student council; graduate student council executive board member; contributing editor at Society for Cultural Anthropology; resident tutor at Eliot House (Harvard College) and mentor in the Greener Scott Scholars Program.

Prior to attending Harvard, Mr. Jili worked at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in South Africa as a visiting researcher. He earned an M.Phil. from Cambridge University, where he studied as a Standard Bank Africa chairman’s scholar. In 2016, he was awarded a Yenching scholarship to study at the Yenching Academy of Peking University, where he received an M.A. in economics. With Professor He Yafei, former Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Professor Jiang Guo Hua, he studied Chinese global governance strategies and economic approaches. He holds an A.B. honors in philosophy, politics, and economics from Wesleyan University, where he was a Pfeiffer scholar.