$300 Million Scholarship for Study in China Signals a New Focus

Keith Bradsher
New York Times

HONG KONG — The private-equity tycoon Stephen A. Schwarzman, backed by an array of mostly Western blue-chip companies with interests in China, is creating a $300 million scholarship for study in China that he hopes will rival the Rhodes scholarship in prestige and influence.

The program, whose endowment represents one of the largest single gifts to education in the world and one of the largest philanthropic gifts ever in China, was announced by Mr. Schwarzman in Beijing on Sunday.

The Schwarzman Scholars program will pay all expenses for 200 students each year from around the world for a one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The program’s creation underlines the tremendous importance of China and its market to Wall Street financiers and corporate leaders, who have become increasingly anxious as security and economic frictions grow between China and the West.

Mr. Schwarzman said his goal was to reduce such tensions by educating the world’s future leaders, but his role in the project will also raise his political profile in China, potentially giving him and his private equity firm, the Blackstone Group, increased access to Chinese leaders. Many of them, including Xi Jinping, who became president of China last month, attended Tsinghua, one of the country’s top universities.

Mr. Schwarzman said he was donating $100 million from his personal fortune, which Forbes estimated last month at $6.5 billion. He said he had raised $100 million from donors, and expected to raise the remaining $100 million by the end of this year.

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