Thursday February 27, 2020


May 2, 2013

Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, recently announced the creation of the Schwarzman Scholarship to study in China. This $300 million scholarship fund is the largest foreign gift made to China. Schwarzman is providing $100 million of the fund personally, has already raised another $100 million, and is still raising the last $100 million.

The Schwarzman scholarship program was inspired by Oxford’s Rhodes Scholarship and is meant to be equally prestigious. Schwarzman Scholars will attend Tsinghua University, a leading University in China with President Xi Jinping and former President Hu Jintao among its notable alumni. The scholarship will be given to 200 students a year: 45% from the U.S., 20% from China, and 35% from the rest of the world (not including Africa).

Scholars will belong to a dedicated new college and will complete a one-year English-language master’s program in economics and business, engineering, international relations, or public policy. Before the academic year begins, Scholars will attend a summer immersion program to familiarize students with Chinese culture, language, and lifestyle.

Schwarzman designed his scholarship program to have some unique attributes that will help attract the brightest students worldwide. The program will have its own physical facility intended to make the environment more comfortable to Western students. Faculty members will lead students on trips around China. Students will be paired with professional mentors who are experts in the students’ chosen fields. The program will be one year instead of two, allowing students planning to get graduate degrees at universities at top universities to attend Tsinghua in addition to their preferred degree. Courses will be taught in English to accommodate students from a wide range of disciplines, not just the Chinese studies majors. Finally, it will be offered at no cost to the students.

According to the Schwarzman Scholarship website: “Schwarzman Scholars will set a new standard for international study, giving the most talented students a better understanding of the new geopolitical landscape and preparing them for future achievement. And it will inspire constructive engagement among new generations of leaders, who will be profoundly influenced by the bonds, knowledge and exposure they gain in China.”

Stephen Schwarzman views this educational scholarship program as an effective way to overcome the growing negative attitudes towards China in the U.S. and other Western countries. This program will create a large network of individuals who can take their new understanding of China back to their countries and their industries and who can also use their shared experience to foster greater global cooperation.

In an interview with Evan Osnos, Schwarzman said: “I looked at this idea, this type of program, as a way to produce people who would have that kind of understanding of China that they wouldn’t have had, as they go back to their regular lives—to observe what’s happening in China and interpret it to their constituencies and their industries and their world.”

In another article, he is quoted saying: “For future geopolitical stability and global prosperity, we need to build a culture of greater trust and understanding between China, America, and the rest of the world.”

President Obama and President Xi Jinping each sent letters of congratulations to Schwarzman. These letters were read aloud during an announcement ceremony held at China’s Great Hall of the People. Vice Premier Liu Yandong attended the ceremony and shared some remarks.

An impressive board of directors that includes former heads of state Kevin Rudd (Australia), Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Tony Blair (UK), and Brian Mulroney (Canada), as well as former U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Henry Kissinger will oversee the Schwarzman Scholarship. Current donors to the scholarship fund include BP, Boeing, Bank of America, GE, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

For more information about the Schwarzman Scholarship, see the following news articles:

The New Yorker (blog)– “Rhodes East: Why is the Schwarzman Scholarship in China?

The Washington Post-Blackstone founder Stephen A. Scwarzman establishes $300 million China scholarship program

Schwarzman Scholars Website– “Schwarzman Scholars—a landmark scholarship for the defining challenge of our time

Xinhua– “President Xi hails Tsinghua-Blackstone scholarship program

The New York Times$300 Million Scholarship for Study in China Signals New Focus

For Chinese language news on the Schwarzman Scholarship, see the articles below:

China News Service (中国新闻网)– “清华大学苏世民学者项目启动 旨在培养全球领袖

Tsinghua News (清华新闻网)– “华润置地捐赠“清华大学苏世民学者项目”

Xinhua (新华网)– “清华大学苏世民学者项目启动仪式在京举行

Schwarzman Scholars Website– “苏世民学者 —提升全球领导力的教育精品

Compiled and edited by Ariane Rosen