Benjamin first studied Chinese as a teenager in the 1980s and has explored China from pretty much every angle since then: as a language student in Shanghai, the manager of a porcelain factory in Jingdezhen, a university lecturer in Beijing, and a luxury tour guide all over the country. He read modern and classical Chinese with Japanese (at Durham, England) before moving on into Asian art history at SOAS (University of London) and joining Christie’s as an auctioneer and expert for Chinese porcelain and works of art. He proceeded to take that expertise back to its roots, to manufacture porcelain in traditional styles in central China, with outlets across the United States and further business ventures in Panama and Colombia. Recently, he has been working on a spectacular installation of blue and white reproduction porcelain in the Peacock Room at the Freer-Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC.
He got back on the academic career track while living in South America, and completed his PhD in political studies in 2015, studying China’s foreign policy towards Latin America and the U.S-China relationship within the Western Hemisphere. He has been lecturing on Chinese politics and international relations for ten years and published two books, several articles and a dozen book chapters in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. Benjamin has a teenage son and a young daughter, and a wife who enjoys moving around the world as much as he does. He was formerly a member of the Covent Garden Minuet Company. He used to play the clarinet but now sticks mainly to the piano.