As a researcher of Africa-China relations, he was named by the Mail & Guardian as one of the most influential young South Africans. His writing has appeared in leading publications and think tanks like the African Affairs, Mail &Guardian, Africa is a Country, The Elephant, and African Center for Strategic Studies. He is also a regular panelist and speaker at international conferences.
At Harvard, Mr Jili serves as a board of director and policy team member on the Harvard COVID-19 Taskforce Students vs Pandemics initiative, Faculty Representative, 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, and Publishing Editor on the HKS Africa Policy Journal.
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 a A.B. honors, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (College of Social Studies), from Wesleyan University (CT), where he was a Pfeiffer Scholar.