American financier Stephen Schwarzman endows Chinese scholarship fund

(JTA) — American financier Stephen Schwarzman has given $100 million to endow a program to enroll foreign students at China’s Tsinghua University in Beijing.

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

The program, similar to the Rhodes Scholarships, will annually support 200 students from the United States and around the world to study for a one year at the university, which is the alma mater of Chinese senior officials, according to Bloomberg News.

Schwarzman is chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group, a private equity and financial advisory firm.

The program requires another $200 million in donations to get off the ground, according to Bloomberg. About $100 million of it already has been raised, according to the New York Times.

Schwarzman said in a statement Sunday at a ceremony in China launching the scholarship that he set up the program in order to encourage the U.S. and other countries to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of China. 

“The American people, as the Chinese proverb goes, are at risk of having a ‘frog’s eye view of the world’ — the isolated perspective of the frog at the bottom of the well,” Schwarzman said. He later told reporters that Americans know “next to nothing” about China.

The first scholarship recipients will be chosen in 2016.

The endowment also will go to the construction of a building to house the program. 

The program will offer master’s degrees in public policy, international relations, economics, business   and engineering. It will begin with a summer-long immersion program in Chinese culture and an introduction to Mandarin, according to the New York Times. 

Need to know? Click here to sign up for JTA’s free e-newsletters.

Click to write a letter to the editor.