|Chairman||Stephen A. Schwarzman|
|Colors||Purple and White|
Schwarzman Scholars (Chinese: 苏世民学者; pinyin: Sūshìmín Xuézhě), founded by American financier Stephen A. Schwarzman, is an international postgraduate award program for students to study at Tsinghua University. Awards are made to 100–200 applicants per year, worldwide. The program selects scholars based on their leadership ability, academic achievement, and demonstrated potential to become the next generation of global leaders who will build bridges between China and the rest of the world. Selected scholars study for a fully-funded one-year master's degree in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University.
The program launched in June 2016, upon the completion of Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University, located in Beijing, China, and is housed in a college designed by Robert A.M. Stern, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. It hosts up to 200 scholars annually from the United States, China, and other countries around the world. Schwarzman Scholars has an acceptance rate comparable to the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, making it one of the most competitive scholarships in the world.
Modeled on the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University and the classical Chinese academies known as Shūyuàn (Schwarzman College is called Sūshìmín Shūyuàn in Chinese, translated directly as Schwarzman Academy), Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University is a competitor to similar international scholarship programs like the Yenching Scholarship at Peking University. Since its founding, the program has maintained ties to the United Front Work Department as well as other organizations and personnel affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party.
History and motivation
Schwarzman Scholars was conceptualized by its founder, Stephen A. Schwarzman, in response to what he saw as growing tensions between the United States and China, largely due to China's economic growth. According to Schwarzman, in the fall of 2010, then-university president Gu Binglin asked if Schwarzman would want to help Tsinghua with a concept for a "Global Scholars" program. At the time, Schwarzman was on the advisory board of Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management. A year later in 2011, a delegation from Tsinghua visited Schwarzman in New York where the concept was put on hold until the leadership at Tsinghua had changed (the term of the then-executive administration was ending) and the global financial crisis had receded.
In 2012, the newly appointed Tsinghua President Chen Jining met with Schwarzman in Paris. Schwarzman, who was interested in moving forward with the concept, put forth six special ideas that would "reduce friction" for the new program. First, the college would need its own physical facility. Second, the program would need to be immersive, including travel and field work across the country with professors. Third, the program would assign mentors to each of the scholars in their area of interest. Fourth, there had to be no cost to the scholars. Fifth, the program would only be one year instead of two or three years long. Sixth and last, the program would be taught in English. Schwarzman told Chen:
"If we do this, what I really want to do is construct a program that has the same prestige as the Rhodes, because those are the students that I’m aiming for."
With 200 Scholars per year, he envisioned an alumni network of 10,000 scholars within a half century to include future heads of state and government. In spring of 2013, the program was announced at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China, and began its fundraising campaign.
The fundraising campaign to raise US$200 million from foreign sources, in addition to Schwarzman's $100 million donation to the program, was also simultaneously launched at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Shortly after in fall of 2013, Oxford University's Rhodes House announced the launch of its own Second Century Campaign, led by a new founder John McCall MacBain with a goal to increase their endowment from 100 million GBP (then US$150 million) to at least 250 million GBP (then US$375 million), leading to a fundraising competition between Tsinghua and Oxford. In spring 2014, Peking University, Tsinghua's chief rival, announced its own global scholarship program, the Yenching Scholars at Yenching Academy, further increasing competition for funding. In summer 2014, Tsinghua University announced it had reached its original fundraising goal and that it would increase it to US$350 million. In 2014, when the program first launched its admissions process, Tsinghua's Schwarzman had already raised US$333 million for its endowment fund. Shortly after a third target of US$400 million, to be reached by the following year, was announced. Commenting on the fundraising competition, Schwarzman remarked:
"The Rhodes scholarships and Schwarzman Scholars programs have similar endowments and fund-raising goals. Which one is ahead in any given week depends mainly on the exchange rate of the pound, which has weakened lately against the dollar."
Meanwhile, it became clear that the Yenching Academy at Peking University would be funded through Chinese private donations and government grants, which set off competition to further grow the two programs' endowments. As a result of the increased competition among full-scholarship leadership programs, there was a marked growth in fundraising, with the endowments moving towards a half billion USD each.
Program design and allocation
Schwarzman Scholars study for a one-year Master's degree (Master of Management Science; Chinese: 管理科学硕士) in Global Affairs (Chinese: 全球领导力) at Tsinghua University; with one of the three concentrations available: Public Policy, International Relations, Economics & Business. The scholars live and study at the Schwarzman College, a purpose-built residential college inside Tsinghua University designed by Robert A.M. Stern, former Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. Scholars live in Beijing for a full year of study and cultural immersion, traveling the country, engaging with world leaders and developing a better understanding of China through first-hand experiences.
Approximately 45% of the participants come from the U.S., 20% from China and 35% from the rest of the world. Students apply directly to the program and are not required to obtain a nomination from their university. The Institute of International Education in the U.S., which administers the Fulbright Scholarships, was initially responsible for the international and American selection processes.
Prospective applicants with passports and permanent resident cards from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, are required to apply earlier than applicants from other countries using a different online application portal, regardless of where they may have attended university or reside.
The program is based on a cohort system, where admitted students live, dine and study together in a close environment, similar to the collegiate system in British Universities. In 2014, Schwarzman Scholars held four recruitment launch events in New York City (at the Morgan Library & Museum), Singapore (introduced by National University of Singapore President Tan Chor Chuan), London (at the Tower Bridge, introduced by Oxford University Vice-Chancellor Andrew D. Hamilton), and Palo Alto in the San Francisco Bay Area (at Stanford University).
The inaugural cohort of 111 Scholars was announced on 10 January 2016, and selected from a group of roughly 3,050 applicants. With an acceptance rate comparable to the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, the founding class included five graduates of Princeton, five students from Yale, and six alumni of Harvard. The third cohort of 142 scholars, announced on 4 December 2017, and was selected from over 4,000 applicants and represents 97 universities from 39 countries.
Leadership and governance
- Nicolas Sarkozy, former President of the French Republic (honorary)
- The Right Honorable Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (honorary)
- The Right Honorable Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada (honorary)
- The Honorable Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia (honorary)
- Henry Kissinger, 56th United States Secretary of State (honorary)
- Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State (honorary)
- Henry "Hank" Paulson, 74th United States Secretary of the Treasury (honorary)
- John L. Thornton, Chairman of the Brookings Institution, Professor and Director of Global Leadership at Tsinghua University (honorary)
- Sir James "Jim" Wolfensohn, 9th President of the World Bank Group (honorary)
- Robert "Bob" Rubin, 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury, Co-Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (honorary)
- Condoleezza Rice, 66th United States Secretary of State (honorary)
- Richard "Rick" Levin, former President of Yale University (honorary)
- Richard Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations (honorary)
- Richard Brodhead, President, Duke University (honorary)
- Yo-Yo Ma, American cellist (honorary)
- Iain Conn, Chief Executive, Refining and Marketing, British Petroleum
- Chen Ning Yang, Albert Einstein Professor Emeritus, Nobel Laureate in Physics
- Tung Chee Hwa ("CH Tung"), former Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and current Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Politics Consultative Conference
Academic Advisory Council
- Mary Brown Bullock, Executive Vice Chancellor, Duke Kunshan University
- Dr. Michael Cappello, Professor of Pediatrics, Epidemiology, and Microbial Pathogenesis; Yale Program in International Child Health; Director, Yale World Fellows Program, Yale University
- Thomas J. Christensen, William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War; Co-Director, China and the World Program (CWP); Faculty Chair, M.P.P Program, Princeton University
- Jane Edwards, Associate Dean of Yale College, Dean of International and Professional Experience, Yale University
- Louis W. Goodman, Professor and Emeritus Dean of the School of International Service, American University
- William C. Kirby, Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration; T.M. Chang Professor of China Studies, Harvard
- Sir Colin Lucas, Former Vice Chancellor, Oxford University
- Edward Macias, Provost, Washington University at St. Louis
- F. Warren McFarlan, Albert H. Gordon Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, Harvard
- Jean C. Oi, William Haass Professor in Chinese Politics and a Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University
- Steve Orlins, President, National Committee on United States–China Relations
- Professor Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, Vice-Rector for Research and Career Development, University of Vienna
- Dr. Pauline Yu, President, American Council of Learned Societies in New York
- Xinsheng Zhang, Former Vice Minister of Education. China
- Dr. Ji Zhou, Former Minister of Education, President of the Chinese Academy of Engineering
- Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University
- Gates Cambridge Scholarship and Churchill Scholarship at Cambridge University
- Churchill Scholarship at Cambridge University
- Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford University
- Yenching Scholarship at Peking University
- Harry S. Truman Scholarship
- Marshall Scholarship
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