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The vision of Schwarzman Scholars is to bring together the world’s best young minds to explore and understand the economic, political and cultural factors that have contributed to China’s increasing importance as a global power, and train them to become effective links between China and the rest of the world. Through the philanthropy, foresight and dedication of Blackstone Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, as well as the generosity of global donors who have been inspired by the potential and importance of this program, Schwarzman Scholars has raised more than $500 million to date. These funds will help endow Schwarzman Scholars in perpetuity.
Each year, up to 200 future leaders from the U.S., China and the rest of the world matriculate as Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University in Beijing to pursue a one-year Master’s Degree. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program have demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities and the potential to understand and bridge cultural and political differences. They live in Beijing for a year of intensive study and cultural immersion – attending lectures, workshops, and discussion groups; being mentored and advised by leaders across sectors; and traveling while developing a better understanding of China.
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Why should aspiring global leaders apply to a master’s degree in global aﬀairs in China?
Our Founding Trustee Steve Schwarzman has long said that, in the twenty-first century, China is no longer an elective course; it is core curriculum. Looking at the state of the world in 2021, it is hard to disagree. China is one of the largest economies in the world and its role, culturally and politically, has become more important in the short term than we ever could have predicted.
Through leadership training, a rigorous curriculum, deep dives, internships, mentoring, and language instruction, Schwarzman Scholars have unparalleled opportunities to connect with Chinese culture while learning about global aﬀairs. They develop skills to maximize their leadership potential through firsthand experiences in China. To be a leader in any discipline, you need to understand China—and Schwarzman Scholars is the best place to do so.
The pandemic spawned new obstacles to multilateralism around the world. What were the main lessons learned?
As the world lived through COVID-19, we saw that no country or community can tackle these complex challenges alone. This includes Schwarzman Scholars: in addition to acquiring critical leadership skills in an uncertain world, Scholars need to cultivate relationships across borders.
More than ever before, the past year has highlighted the strength and resilience of the Schwarzman Scholars community. Scholars have gone above and beyond in giving back to their communities across more than forty initiatives they founded during the pandemic - from facilitating access to credit and PPE, to founding a virtual tutoring program, and creating a microgrant venture to support high school entrepreneurs. We know Schwarzman Scholars will continue to prove how multilateralism can create a lasting positive impact.
How did Schwarzman Scholars respond as a program to COVID-19?
Since we are based in Beijing, Schwarzman Scholars was one of the first programs to go fully virtual in January 2020. We quickly pivoted to support our Scholars from around the world, increasing our course offerings by over 20% while our faculty led classes for Scholars across 18 time zones. We hosted guests such as Madeleine Albright, Richard Haass, Condoleezza Rice, Indra Nooyi, and more. Our careers team also hosted more than 120 collective coaching and resume review sessions while our student life team conducted over 25 virtual Deep Dives, a hallmark of our program’s unique curriculum.
Travel restrictions during the pandemic did not deter today’s young leaders from wanting to learn more about China. We hosted over 13,000 students in online information sessions in 2020 – twice as many as in 2019. We received more than 3,600 applications to select 151 students from 39 countries to join our incoming sixth cohort who will start the program this August.