Schwarzman Scholars Announces Class of 2018

December 1, 2016

BEIJING AND NEW YORK, December 1, 2016 – Schwarzman Scholars, the Master’s degree program at Tsinghua University, today announced the names of 129 men and women chosen to represent the Class of 2018. The second class of Schwarzman Scholars is composed of students from 30 countries and 75 universities with 45% from the United States, 20% from China, and 35% from the rest of the world. Schwarzman Scholars is quickly becoming the premier training ground for future leaders, educating and preparing the world’s most exceptional men and women to confront the most difficult challenges of the coming century and develop an understanding of China necessary to lead in the future. Expenses for each Scholar are fully funded by the program, which is housed at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s premier institutions.

“I am overjoyed with the caliber of students who will make up the second class of Schwarzman Scholars. It has been truly inspiring for me to meet these people, who at such a young age have already started to make an impact on the world,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Founding Trustee of Schwarzman Scholars. “Clearly their journey is just beginning, but it is our hope that the Scholars of the inaugural class, the Class of 2018, and every class thereafter will leave Schwarzman College with a better understanding of how to foster friendship, cooperation and collaboration among the peoples of the world.”

The 129 Scholars were selected through a rigorous and thorough selection process designed to evaluate leadership experience and potential, intellectual and academic ability, including the capacity to understand emerging trends, design solutions, and inspire others to a vision, as well as strength of character. The applications were reviewed by a distinguished team of readers from around the world with 373 semi-finalists invited for in-person interviews in Beijing, Bangkok, London or New York before international panels composed of CEOs, former heads of state, university presidents, non-profit executives, journalists and other leaders.

This distinguished group of interviewers who were responsible for selecting the Class of 2018 included Jared Cohen, Founder and President, Jigsaw, Alphabet Inc., David Petraeus, Former Director of the CIA, Brian Mulroney, Former Prime Minister of Canada, Jeremy Wright, Attorney General for England and Wales, Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather, Rona Fairhead, Chairman of the BBC Trust, Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte, Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times, and many others. Of the applicants offered acceptance into the program, 97% will join the new class, representing a higher acceptance yield than the most competitive U.S. business and law schools.

Robert Garris, Global Director of Admissions said, “As we met the candidates for the second class of Scholars during their interviews, we were impressed with their unparalleled energy, initiative, and drive.  We confirmed once again how essential it is to have experienced leaders from politics, the non-profit world, and government as panelists, meeting the candidates in person to identify the next generation of leaders.”

Schwarzman Scholars counts among its second class a truly exemplary group of individuals from the most prestigious graduate and undergraduate academic institutions in the world. Included in the class is a native of South Sudan who launched an agri-business startup that was profiled in the New York Times and seeks to integrate small-scale farmers into regional agricultural value chains through contract farming, an officer in the Republic of Korea Air Force who served as the Foreign Affairs Aide to the Korean Minister of National Defense, an internationally recognized debater and public speaking coach, an American who is a Mandarin pop singer-songwriter and TV personality, and a Staff Assistant in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama Administration, among many others.

Nigel Thrift, Executive Director said, “The second class of Schwarzman Scholars is a remarkable group of people who are committed to broadening their worldview and encouraging peace and friendship between the east and the west. I continue to be amazed by these students and how Schwarzman Scholars is creating global citizens who will be well equipped to succeed and lead in whatever field they choose.”

“The first cohort of Schwarzman Scholars has already set an extraordinarily high bar,” said Schwarzman College Dean, David Daokui Li. “But we were thrilled by the number, enthusiasm, and quality of the applicants for the second class. The rigorous selection process has yielded a class of terrific accomplishment and future potential, and I look forward to greeting them at Schwarzman College next fall. ”

The scholarship is fully funded for all participants, including travel costs and a personal stipend, and is supported by the program’s endowment which is expected to total $450 million, with $435 million raised to date. Scholars will live and study together at Schwarzman College, the dedicated state-of-the-art academic and residential building built exclusively for the program.

Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, and Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and CEO of Facebook, shared the below messages at the program’s official convocation in September.

Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States said, “I want to congratulate Steve Schwarzman and Tsinghua University along with everyone whose vision and tireless efforts made this program a reality. We know that the challenges of the coming century will require each of us, and especially our future leaders, to put aside our differences, reach across borders and face our common challenges with a common resolve. With the education and experience that you all get as Schwarzman Scholars, I know that you’ll be more than ready to meet this moment.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and CEO of Facebook said, “I had a chance to visit Tsinghua University last year and meet with the students, faculty, and staff there. I can’t think of a better place to study, and learn about China, and how we can work together to build a better global community. You represent some of the best and brightest that the world has to offer, and I look forward to seeing the difference that you’ll make.”

Scholars will study Public Policy, Economics & Business, and International Studies, and spend a year immersed in an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. In an environment of intellectual engagement, professional development and cultural exchange, they will learn from one another and pursue their academic disciplines while building their leadership capacities. The Schwarzman Scholars experience will expand students’ understanding of the world and create a growing network of global leaders for the future.

Please click here to view the full list of Schwarzman Scholars, and here for a list of the academic institutions attended by the Scholars. To watch a short video highlighting the process of selecting the first class of Schwarzman Scholars, please click here.

Schwarzman Scholars will begin accepting applications in April for the third class of Scholars, set to enroll in August 2018.

About Schwarzman Scholars:
Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $450 million endowment will support up to 200 Scholars annually from the U.S., China, and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in September 2016.

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