Scholarship Looking to the Future

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Stephen A. Schwarzman

Stephen A. Schwarzman (Copyright - World Economic Forum , Photo by Remy Steinegger)

Stephen A. Schwarzman

Stephen A. Schwarzman
(Copyright – World Economic Forum , Photo by Remy Steinegger)

It doesn’t take a clairvoyant, or genius, to see where the global economic and political muscle will be in the future. The sub-prime mortgage crisis of the last few years highlights not only glaring discrepancies in national economic policies, but also the regulatory mechanics supposedly in place to monitor them. Regardless, the West has been struggling to stay afloat whilst the ‘BRIC’ countries are moving from strength to strength. Brazil, Russia, India and China are the ones to watch, and they are the ones that will be shaping how we will live.

It is with a keen, prescient view that a notable philanthropist has recently set up an interesting new scholarship programme, The BBC reports “US private-equity magnate Stephen Schwarzman has launched a $300m (£200m) scholarship programme to send 200 foreign post-graduate students to study in China each year.” It’s fascinating to see how the tides have turned, and how quickly; it wasn’t long ago that America held the promise of the future – unequaled education, job opportunities and the rest of the Hollywood dream. Now that dream is changing, and Schwarzman sees an important opportunity to encourage a bridge for the future – a bright idea.

The idea is aimed at being something akin to the Rhodes scholarship, which enables foreign students to study at Oxford. When asked about this illustrious programme, Schwarzman simply said that “China’s economy is growing at three times the rate of the West, and if that growth continues, China will become the largest economy in the world within the next couple of decades.” He recognizes the importance of this connection to a new generation of U.S. entrepreneurs and the hope that cultural, as well as economic bridges can be built. And alas, Mr. Schwarzman is not alone, as he has a list of partners that many of you will recognize: “former US Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and American cellist Yo-Yo Ma,” among them. Changes are afoot, and it’s important that we learn from each other.