Bulelani Jili

Visiting Fellow
Bulelani Jili

Bulelani Jili is a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University, where he is a Meta Research Ph.D. Fellow. His research interests include ICT development, Africa-China relations, cybersecurity, and privacy law. He is also a Cybersecurity Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Visiting Fellow at The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, a Scholar-in-residence at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and a Research Associate at Oxford University.

He has also advised leading think tanks, governments, and watchdogs like the American Bar Association, Atlantic Council, Freedom House, UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, US state department, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

 His 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.

 Relatedly, he has received numerous prestigious awards, honors, and fellowships. This includes: the Wenner-Gren dissertation fieldwork fellowship, Meta Research PhD 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 IEEE standards association: global initiative on ethics of AI systems. At Harvard, he sits on the board of director and policy team member on the Harvard COVID-19 Taskforce Students vs Pandemics initiative; Faculty Representative and Department Representative and Funding Committee Member on the Graduate Student Council; Graduate Student Council Executive Board member (as at-Large representative for Interdisciplinary Programs); Contributing Editor at Society for Cultural Anthropology; Resident Tutor at Eliot House (Harvard College); 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 a M.A. in Economics. Studying with Prof. He Yafei, former Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Prof. Jiang Guo Hua, he studied Chinese global governance strategies and economic approaches. He holds an A.B. honors, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (College of Social Studies) from Wesleyan University (CT), where he was a Pfeiffer Scholar. 

Expertise: Algorithmic decision-making, Tech Ethics, Global South, CyberLaw, Surveillance, Africa-China relations, National Security, ICT development, China Studies, Post-Colonial Thought, and Social Theory.