Yan Bennett is the Assistant Director for the Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China. She most recently worked at the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program(link is external) (now Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program) at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs where she served as the Assistant Director from 2009-2015.
Before coming to Princeton, Bennett was a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State and served overseas in China and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In China, she served as vice consul and had the opportunity to report on U.S. corporate labor practices, intellectual property issues, and the results of a municipal election in Guangdong Province. In Bosnia, Bennett served as special assistant to the ambassador and supported senior staff in achieving foreign policy and national security objectives. She has received awards for superior performance from the State Department, including a personal commendation from Secretary Powell.
Bennett teaches diplomatic studies at George Washington University as an adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs. In her course, her students learn the interaction of law and diplomacy, as well as the structure of domestic and international law. She also has a number of publications on China's legal reform and on the rule of law under the Xi administration (google scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=fvqwAdYAAAAJ&hl=en). As a lawyer, she practices in the areas of international law, including mergers and acquisitions, trade law, and immigration.
Bennett has a B.A. in Political Science from Furman University, an M.A. in International Affairs from the Elliott School at George Washington University, and a JD from Syracuse University College of Law.