Alex W. Palmer is a writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Smithsonian Magazine, The New Republic, and on the websites of The New Yorker and National Geographic. He graduated summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard, where he majored in social studies with a focus field in conflict and ethics. As a Marshall Scholar, he earned an MA in conflict, security, and development at King's College London, and an MPhil in Middle Eastern history at Cambridge. He was a member of the inaugural class of Yenching Scholars at Peking University, where he earned a degree in China Studies and wrote extensively on modern China. As a National Geographic Explorer, he traveled the length of the Silk Road from Xi'an, in western China, through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. He currently lives in Washington, D.C.