Yale News

Current Yale students Milan Vivanco ’21 and Trent Kannegieter ’21 as well as alumni Alexander Crich ’19, Mikaela Rabb ’18 and Harry Seavey ’19 received the prestigious Schwarzman Scholars scholarship. They join a cohort of 154 students from around the world.

The scholarship, created by Stephen Schwarzman ’69, is awarded annually for students to further their educations with a Master’s degree in global affairs at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The scholarship fully funds one year of study and prepares students that “will create a more peaceful and prosperous future for all,” according to its website. The award is specifically focused on China’s involvement in global affairs. According to a press release, more than 3,600 people applied to the scholarship this year, and incoming scholars hail from 99 universities and 39 countries.

“It’s hard to think of a better opportunity to learn about China and its place as a global power,” Vivanco said. “The Schwarzman scholarship really offers an avenue to spend a year in Beijing, experience the country for yourself and learn about the avenues for diplomacy for future global leadership for international trade and business as well. And it just seems like the most obvious choice for me as someone who’s really eager to participate in American diplomacy in the future.”

Each year, up to 200 applicants are selected for the scholarship. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s application process was conducted virtually for the first time. The application includes essays, interviews and a video component. Scholars were announced on Dec. 7.

“During my time in the program, I hope to focus on China’s relationship with the United States and global governance institutions,” said Kannegieter, a history major in the human rights multidisciplinary program. “I’m hoping that the program will give me the opportunity to really learn about a crucial global perspective on issues like international law and diplomacy which is only going to become more important in the coming years.”

Schwarzman Scholars study global affairs “with a core curriculum focused on three pillars: leadership, China, and global affairs,” according to the scholarship’s press release.

The scholarship aims to prepare future leaders by allowing them to explore economic, political and cultural factors that led to China’s rise as a global superpower.

“It’s clear to me that the future of geopolitics, whether that be with regard to global trade, international development or reshaping the world order post-COVID, will largely be affected by the policies made in Washington and Beijing,” Vivanco said.

Vivanco — who majors in Ethics, Politics and Economics and has worked as a Kerry Fellow at the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs — said he has “become more keen to learn about ways for the U.S. and China to work together on pressing global challenges.”

Both Vivanco and Kannegieter agreed that their Yale education motivated their interest in global affairs, helped them understand China’s importance in the future and pushed them to apply for the Schwarzman program.

“At a moment when the mission of Schwarzman Scholars is even more important than we could have predicted, I am confident these individuals will become people of consequence in their generation: leading intelligently, acting with integrity and addressing the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century,” Schwarzman said.

The Schwarzman Scholars program was established in 2016.

Sharla Moody | sharla.moody@yale.edu