Lecturer in Public and International Affairs

118 Bendheim Hall
Chalise Mapp


  • China's Foreign and Security Policy-making; Coercion
  • Crisis Management and China's Maritime Security; Studies of People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China; China's Civil-Military Relations; Chinese Elite Politics and the PLA; East Asia Security; China's Science R&D and Innovation Policy


Yali Chen teaches Chinese Foreign Relations at Woodrow Wilson School/Politics Department. She was a post-doctoral research fellow at China and the World Program at Princeton University. She passed the dissertation defense, with distinction, in July 2015. Her dissertation, The PLA in China’s Foreign and Security Policy-making: Drivers, Mechanism and Interactions, studies the influence the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) exerts in China’s foreign and security policy-making process. She graduated from Renmin University of China with a B.A. degree in international relations in 1994 and received a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 2002.

Chen was a pre-doctoral research fellow at Brookings Institution in 2013-14. From 2002-2012, she worked for the Washington-based Center for Defense Information, World Security Institute (WSI), and Global Zero as a Research Analyst and Editor. In addition to conducting research and writing on U.S.-China relations, she focused on policy research on China’s military modernization, as well as a wide range of policy issues from nuclear arms control, non-proliferation, the South China Sea disputes, to the U.S.-China mil-to-mil relationship. She co-founded WSI’s China office, and China Security, an English-language policy journal devoted to U.S.-China security policy issues and a unique forum for Chinese thinkers to share their opinions with the policy circles of the United States. Chen also founded and managed Washington Observer Weekly, a Chinese-language e-magazine on U.S.-China relations, which reached numerous Chinese government officials and military officers, as well as university educators and academic researchers. She was dedicated to promoting dialogues on nuclear arms control when working as the China Liaison for Global Zero, an international nuclear disarmament group, in 2008-2012. She taught and co-taught China's foreign relations and international security crisis management at various universities.

Chen worked for China Daily as a reporter and Op-ed writer in 1994-2000. During her career as a journalist at China Daily, she won national news awards including: the first prize of China’s International News Award, granted by the News Office of China’s State Council in 1997; the second prize of China’s Legislation News, granted by China’s National People’s Congress; and the third prize of China’s International News Award in 1995.

Her research interests include the studies of People's Liberation Army, China’s foreign and defense policy-making, maritime security and East Asia, China’s science and technology policies, regional development, nationalism and the Chinese Communist Party politics, and civil-military relations.