News / Asia

Beijing Scholarship to Promote Understanding of China

American billionaire Stephen Schwarzman announces scholarship bearing his name at a ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, April 21, 2013.
American billionaire Stephen Schwarzman announces scholarship bearing his name at a ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, April 21, 2013.
Supporters of a new scholarship for international students at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University say they are backing the program in the hope that it will produce future world leaders with a better understanding of China.

American billionaire investor Stephen Schwarzman announced the scholarship bearing his name at a ceremony Sunday in Beijing's Great Hall of the People. The Tsinghua program will fund one-year master's degrees for 200 students, almost half of them Americans, beginning in 2016. The scholars will take immersion classes in Chinese culture and language before enrolling in public policy and international relations courses.

International energy giant BP is donating $25 million of the $300 million cost of the scholarship program. As the lead sponsor, it said the program will enable future leaders to interact with prominent political, business and academic figures "with the vision of fostering greater understanding and more meaningful dialogue between China and the world."

Schwarzman is donating $100 million of his own wealth to the program, which is modeled on the century-old Rhodes scholarship that brings international students to Britain's Oxford University.

Speaking to U.S. television network CBS, he said the goal of his scholarship is to ease international tensions that may arise as China's economic growth outpaces those of Western powers in the coming years.

"The center of the world's economy is moving to Asia much more than it used to be in 1902, when it was more in the U.S. and Europe, when the Rhodes [scholarship] was established," said Schwarzman. "And I think that bringing students to China is an essential part of their education. China is no longer an elective course, it is really core curriculum."

Two-thirds of the funding will come from private donations, including those made by U.S. corporate giants Bank of America, Boeing, Caterpillar and JPMorgan Chase. All of the major corporate donors have significant investments in China.

Caterpillar said it has contributed $1 million to the scholarship. It said the program will highlight the "importance of [China's] economy to the rest of the world," and create links between Caterpillar and alumni "who could someday be an employee or a customer."

Schwarzman's private equity company Blackstone Group also invests in China's real estate market and is part-owned by Chinese state-run wealth fund China Investment Corp. Foreign investors in China traditionally have won favor with Chinese leaders by donating to schools, disaster relief and clean energy projects.

The scholarship's board includes prominent international figures such as former prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain and Kevin Rudd of Australia, former French president Nicholas Sarkozy, and former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

Kissinger said the scholarship can promote a peaceful world and a healthy global economy by fostering close relationships, understanding and communication.

"The Schwarzman Scholars Program is designed to broaden cultural understanding between China and the rest of the world," said Kissinger. "Only through first-hand experience can one really understand China - its culture, people, influences and motivations. Schwarzman scholars will inform a new class of leaders that are better prepared to face global challenges."

Kissinger helped to open U.S. relations with China in the early 1970s as a senior member of the Nixon administration.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs