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Developing global trade through trade leaders

The Hinrich Foundation is committed to addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals through graduate scholarships to develop the next generation of global trade leaders.

The Global Trade Education: The Role of Private Philanthropy report outlines the power of this approach. Discover the impact our alumni are making in their countries here.

Learn more about our growing community of trade leaders here.

Global Trade Education: The Role of Private Philanthropy

Global trade can amplify economic development and poverty alleviation. Capable leaders are required to put in place enabling conditions for trade, but currently these skills are underprovided in developing countries. For philanthropists, investing in trade leadership talent through graduate-level scholarships is an opportunity for sustainable change.

The expansion of international trade has brought economic growth and prosperity to large parts of the developing world. Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals will depend on how countries manage their participation in global trade.

An important underlying condition is the presence of management skills and high-quality leadership, often underrepresented in developing economies. In this report, we explore the human dimension of the trade-development nexus, and the importance of higher education within it. We explore the potential impact of trade-related higher education in delivering sustainable trade and development outcomes, why it is underfunded, and the role that private philanthropy can play in elevating its impact.


Featured trade scholarship alumni journeys

The trade scholarship alumni featured in the Global Trade Education: The Role of Private Philanthropy  report are making an impact in their communities and beyond through trade. Here are their stories…


Hinrich Scholarship
RMIT University – Vietnam
Master of International Business, Class of 2020

Current Project
Component Head
Enterprise Development (I-REAP)
Rural Development Project
Philippine Department of Agriculture

Cherrilyn “Lycah” Baylon – A catalyst for peace through trade

Cherrilyn “Lycah” Baylon smiles when she smells the air around the islands of the Sulu Archipelago. The sting of gunpower in parts of this insurgency-plagued slice of the southern Philippines has now largely been replaced by the smell of coffee. It’s a change she is both proud of and part of.

The Filipina leads the enterprise component of a multi-million-dollar, multi-year government-sponsored Rural Development Project (RDP) aimed at strengthening and modernizing the agriculture and fisheries sectors in rural areas.

Her prime motivation in joining the project was to become a catalyst for peace through trade.

“I want to use the strategic thinking and cross-cultural communication skills I learned studying global trade abroad as a Hinrich Scholar to improve the business acumen of our beneficiaries,” she says. “I want to help them grow their enterprises and improve their lives.”

Her project’s efforts are literally bearing fruit in the form of coffee. In February 2024, an Implementation Management Agreement between the local government of Sulu in the southern Philippines and the RDP establishing a “Powered Coffee Processing and Marketing” enterprise subproject with a local coffee producing cooperative that will “boost the enterprise’s revenue, reduce post-harvest losses, and enhance the annual net surplus, ultimately contributing to the growth of the coffee industry in Sulu.”

Looking ahead, Lycah plans to develop new businesses for turning high-value exports like coffee and cacao beans into powerful tools for continued economic and human development in her home country.


Hinrich Scholarship
Hong Kong Baptist University
MA – International Journalism
Class of 2011
University of Auckland
Master in International Business

Current Employment
Country Manager Vietnam
Regional Trade for Development

Mai Nguyen – Talking up Trade 

Mai Nguyen will tell you that facilitating positive change is tough if nobody hears you. As the Country Manager for an ASEAN Secretariat Regional Trade for Development program in Vietnam, she cites confidence and communication skills as invaluable drivers of her success.

She acquired these vital soft skills as a Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Scholar in both the International Journalism Masters’ program at Hong Kong Baptist University and the Masters of International Business program at the University of Auckland. Upon graduation, she honed them as a Business Development Executive at Global Sources, a business-to-business multichannel media company that serves import buyers and export suppliers.

Following her time with Global Sources, Mai held multiple managerial and consulting roles in Vietnam with prominent global trade organizations, including Austrade (the Australian Trade and Investment Commission), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In these roles, she engaged with high-level executives and spoke directly with trade leaders, government officials and international trade organizations around the world.

She built her ability to make herself heard on her comprehensive master’s education and growing expertise in trade.

“Young employees often find it challenging to make their voices heard before a group of high-profile decision-makers,” said Mai. “The well-rounded academic curriculum, international exposure, mentorship and strong support I received from academia and the Hinrich Foundation was instrumental in preparing me for an international trade career.” 

In her current role – continuing to leverage her world-class trade education – she is helping ASEAN governments build capacity for implementing free trade agreements effectively, and through those efforts, ensuring shared prosperity for the people, societies and countries within the region.


Hinrich Scholarship
Thunderbird School of Global Management
Class of 2011

Companies Founded
Pledge Box
Gadget Labs

Roger Li – “Success is making a better world”

Securing a scholarship to travel abroad and earn an MBA might fit many people’s definition of success. For Roger Li, it was always more than that.

“Success for me is to make a better world. I believe that we can touch and transform many lives through individual contributions within the environments we inhabit,” he says.

And that’s what he did. Roger grew up in the densely populated and underdeveloped Anhui province in central China, where every student had to face stiff competition to qualify for an undergraduate degree. After securing a place at the University of Shanghai and earning a computer science degree, he worked for a multinational company in China and India. He then went on to win a Hinrich Foundation scholarship to the MBA program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in the US. It was there he discovered his love of global trade.

Roger’s calls his MBA experience – which encompassed a robust trade-focused curriculum, a multi-cultural environment and opportunities to interact with global trade leaders – “the most significant turning point in my professional life.” One that led him on his journey to entrepreneurial success in cross-border trade.

After three years with a B2B company facilitating international trade, Roger founded his first business, a digital marketing strategy firm helping Chinese companies access international markets. He soon set up a second company producing software that supports exports to manage orders and handle shipping processes more efficiently.

To date, Roger has helped over 400 Chinese brands enter global markets, most notably the US. He currently employs 42 people across both companies and plans to continue to create more opportunities for his team, his country and the global trade community for years to come.


Hinrich Scholarship
RMIT University – Vietnam
Master of Global Trade, Class of 2022

Current Employment
Country Manager (Bangladesh) and Regional Head of Customer Service

Mohammad Nurun Nobi – Putting trade’s best foot forward

In Bangladesh, apparel and footwear sector accounts for 85% of the country’s merchandise exports, providing direct and indirect employment opportunities for more than 24 million people. Ensuring continued growth requires leadership, which is exactly what Nobi provides thanks to the scholarship support he received from the Hinrich Foundation.

Following his first master’s degree, he took on a role overseeing factories in Bangladesh for VF Corporation, an American global apparel and footwear company, where he worked for seven years. In this role he oversaw up to 15 factories, each employing a minimum of 10,000 workers, applying his learning and skills to improving productivity, minimizing costs and driving efficiencies.

His work directly contributed to the sustainability of the company’s business, thereby sustaining jobs in communities reliant on this critical sector.

Today, Nobi is applying the soft and hard skills he’s developed to support global clients in a dual role with a Hong Kong-based trading company as both a Country Manager (Bangladesh) and the regional Head of Customer Service.

“I was only able to achieve all I have thanks to the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader scholarships from the Hinrich Foundation. The education I received developed my critical thinking and problem-solving skills and gave me greater practical skills in areas such as end-to-end supply chain management and negotiation,” said Nobi. “Most Importantly, it also gave me the opportunity to interact with a diverse student population and work internationally, which furthered my cross-cultural communication skills. These skills have been critical in advancing my trade career.”

Discover the transformative power of global trade scholarships

The Hinrich Foundation has developed expertise in address the systemic cause of poverty through trade leadership development. This encompasses trade-related education support for educators and students, and managing a robust graduate-level scholarship and alumni program.

We invite individuals, corporations and foundations to be a part of the change. Take action today: Contact Alex Boome, Hinrich Foundation Trade Education Program Director.