Hong Kong


The program’s academic goal is to engage students in a rigorous examination of the interplay between government and economics.  The challenging coursework will give students the academic background necessary to become influential policymakers, savvy businesspeople, and global leaders of tomorrow.

The intense academic program includes course components covering the fundamental concepts and theories of political economy as well as an advanced course in political philosophy.  The lectures and readings connect scientific, theoretical, and philosophical analyses with the hope that students will apply what they learn at AIPE when they return to their home countries.

The pace of the program is intense and demanding.  In addition to attending classes and guest lectures, formal and informal extracurricular events are planned to encourage students to share ideas and cultures outside of the traditional classroom setting.

All classes are held on the campus of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), internationally recognized as one of the finest institutes of higher learning in Asia, and upon successful completion of the course students may earn academic credit through George Mason University.

"Few other events within my life have delivered such a potent range of experiences: expanded horizons with an impact on our professional lives, cultural encounters that break down the barriers that partition our globalizing world, socio-political discussions that locate common ground amidst all the discontents of our countries, and personal exchanges that culminate with our realization that humanity is a broader thing than any one society can define."

Jerik Cruz

Course Descriptions

The central part of AIPE is an interdisciplinary academic course that is divided into two components: Political Economy and Political Philosophy.  The course is team taught by professors teach at prestigious universities in the United States.  Students are expected to complete daily readings and any other projects assigned.  Classes are scheduled in the mornings and afternoons, and students may receive 3 undergraduate credit hours from George Mason University upon successful completion of the program.

Political Economy

This component of the course examines the structure and functions of a market economy in the context of such fundamental issues as competition, trade policy, fiscal and monetary policy, capital flows and foreign investment, and international financial markets. The course will explore the benefits and challenges of globalization as well as the impact of government intervention in the economy.

Political Philosophy

This component introduces both the liberal tradition that grounds the founding of the United States and the political institutions its Founders developed to secure liberal ends. In the course of meeting these basic tasks, it is worthwhile to explore other related key issues that should be of interest to the student of American institutions and society. Lectures will focus on the structure, role and relationship of the major branches of the national government, as well as the role of political parties, media and interest groups in transforming public opinion into public policy.

"AIPE has been one of best learning platforms for me. The courses were laid as such that even for me, without any economics background, it was easy to understand the ideas and philosophies of economics. Getting to learn and analyze about the american constitution and the Federalists was a wonderful opportunity as this can now help me understand and reason the constitution writing process that is being carried out in my own country as well. The learning didn't stop at the lecture halls only. I got to make friends from more than 10 different countries and learn about their markets, politics and their cultures. I also got an insight on the way the youth perceive the world and its affairs, which I consider is a valuable learning as well."

Prabhat Shrestha


Political Economy

Dr. Nikolai G. Wenzel
Distinguished Professor of Economics, Fayetteville State University

Dr. Nikolai G. Wenzel holds the L.V. Hackley Chair for the Study of Capitalism and Free Enterprise at Fayetteville State University (Fayetteville, North Carolina), where he is Distinguished Professor of Economics. He has held appointments as Associate Professor of Economics at Flagler College, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Wallace and Marion Reemelin Chair in Free-Market Economics at Hillsdale College. Dr. Wenzel has a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University (where he was an H.B. Earhart fellow) and a BSFS cum laude in international affairs from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Dr. Wenzel is a former Foreign Service Officer with the US State Department; for two years, he worked at the US Embassy in Mexico City, where he was vice-consul and special assistant to the US ambassador. He subsequently worked for various Washington, DC-area think tanks while completing his doctoral coursework and dissertation.

Dr. Wenzel is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, and the Association of Private Enterprise Education; he sat for four years on the Executive Committee of the Association of Private Enterprise Education and is currently on the Board of Scholars of the Foundation for Economic Education. He has taught for the Institute for Humane Studies, the Foundation for Economic Education, and the Fund for American Studies. Dr. Wenzel has published almost forty scholarly articles and book chapters in political economy and constitutional economics. He is the co-author of a book on the libertarian-conservative debate (Stanford University Press), and is currently writing a co-authored book on cronyism, capitalism, and social justice.


Political Philosophy

Dr. Charlie Thomas
Professor of Philosophy, Mercer University

Prof. Thomas earned her B.A. at Mercer University, her M.A. and Ph.D. at Emory, and has been on the faculty at Mercer since 1994. Her philosophical interests include Ancient Political Philosophy, Philosophy and the Arts, and Classical Liberalism. She mainly teaches History of Philosophy, Ethics, and Great Books on campus, and she has directed Philosophy and Art study abroad programs since 2000. She is director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program and the co-director of the Center for America's Founding Principles, in which capacity she leads faculty / student reading groups, organizes lectures, conferences, and summer workshops, and directs study abroad opportunities for High School teachers interested in developing their use of primary texts and seminar pedagogies. Currently, her research focuses on the middle books of Plato's Republic.