Nicholas Zhang

Hey, I’m

NIC ZHANG

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I call myself a humanistorian — heart of a humanitarian, mind of a historian.

Currently, I’m a student at St. Clare’s Oxford where I keep myself busy as secretary general of MUN, founder & president of St. Clare’s Unioneditor-in-chief of Clarityshooting guard of Basketball, and St. Clare’s best microwave chef (yes, at meal times I am exceptionally popular!)

When I am not busy with school work, I am also a research assistant (Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Center), a public speaker (Council of Christians and Jews Oxford, Oxford University Jewish Society), an interviewer (Ronald Leopold of the Anne Frank House, Voirrey Carr of the WWI Remembrance Committee), a blogger (the Times of Israel) and an event organiser (debut Holocaust Memorial Night at St Clare’s, Laisee for Cause Fundraising Drive, Pen in a Box Stationary Drive).

I am an active learner (read: history nerd), lover of street food (chicken satay, anyone?), and lifelong advocate for positive social change. 

My goal is to become a scholar and educator for community empowerment. These are my first steps:

Telling the Stories of Those Without a Voice

Telling the Stories of Those Without a Voice

When Mao launched the cultural revolution, it became impossible for my grandmother to return to China after a trip to Hong Kong. She fled to the US. With no money, no English and no paper to work or stay in the country, she was fortunate to have found protection under Mr Robert Parker, a Jewish hotel owner in upstate New York. Mr Parker not only offered my grandmother a job as a hotel maid, but also sponsored for her to become a US citizen. When China re-opened its door to the West, the very kind Mr Parker further sponsored her entire family to come to the US, this included my mother.

Childhood memories of these stories, peppered with a few Hebrew greetings and Passover dishes my mother had managed to pick up, sewed my deepest appreciation and fascination about the people and religion of Judaism. This eventually led me to discover the oppressed and mostly un-known community of Jews in Kaifeng – they have lived in China for over a thousand years and look no different from their Chinese neighbours, but they are genetically tested to be Jews!

Deepest curiosity and appreciation towards Mr Parker for what he has done for my family fuelled my obsession to do more for this long-forgotten civilisation that sits on the crossroad of the Holy Land and the Middle Kingdom. This eventually led to the founding of Chinese Jews, a student-led organisation aiming to research, protect, preserve, and share the legacy of Jews in China. As of September 15th 2019, our Website has reached 1,435 unique visitors, across 59 countries and our Facebook Page has 402 followers.

The pinnacle of my research led to the publication of Jews in China: A History of Struggle which can be found from my humble school library to the renowned Wiener Library.

Founder & Executive Director of Chinese Jews

 

Author of Jews in China: A History of Struggle

Inspiring Others to Give Back to Society

Inspiring Others to Give Back to Society

The journey to set up Chinese Jews allowed me to witness first hand the challenges and obstacles that could roadblock the conversion of good thoughts into good deeds. While many friends joined me in my effort to raise awareness for the Jewish diaspora in China, others did not feel the pull.

I thus founded the student-led online organisation, Pause for a Cause, to encourage all of my peers, close and far, to ‘pause’ and do something for a ‘cause’; to look deeply into their own heart and find something that touches and drives them. I preach that the key is to do something, however big or small; for together, we can moving mountains.

As of September 15th, 2019, Pause for a Cause has left footprints in HK, China, Japan, Morocco, UK and US and we have successfully assisted in turning over 13 visions into reality. Currently, we focus on five main blocks of service work — civil rights, cultural preservation, education, environmental advocacy, and social services. The future of humanity lies in the hands of the young and the path forward would be brightest if lit by passion, compassion and implementation.

Founder & Director of Outreach of Pause for a Cause.

Pledging to Fight for a World Free of Prejudice

Pledging to Fight for a World Free of Prejudice

The Anne Frank Declaration was created to remember all the children who died in the wars and conflicts of the 20th century and to call upon all of us to make the world a place free of prejudice and hatred in the 21st century.

Over the years, notable figures from world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton, to celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Nile Rodgers and Peter Gabriel have all left their signatures on the Declaration.

On the 20th Anniversary of the United Nation’s signing of the Anne Frank Declaration, I, an honorary guest of the Anne Frank House, was invited to add my signature to the declaration, on behalf of Chinese Jews (Previous Name: Kaifeng Jews Matter), at House of Parliament in Westminster, as a pledge to fight against prejudice and bigotry.

Official Signatory of the Anne Frank Declaration