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Ten Harvard Affiliates Win Schwarzman Scholarships

By Amy Y. Li
By Ellen M. Burstein, Laura C. Espinoza, and Tamar Sarig, Contributing Writers

Ten University affiliates — including seven Harvard seniors — learned this week they would have the opportunity to study for a Master’s degree in Beijing as part of the Schwarzman Scholars program next year.

Jesper W. Ke ’19 and Kabir K. Gandhi ’19, both inactive Crimson editors, as well as Felipe I. Flores ’19, Isabella S. Colocci ’19, John P. Beadle ’19, Melissa Li ’19, and Theodore S. Breyer ’19 are the seven seniors awarded the fellowship. They will be joined by Andrew R. Chang ’18, Priscilla W. Guo ’18, and Extension School student Farid Nemri in China as members of the program’s fourth class of scholars.

Beginning in the fall of 2019, the 147 Schwarzman Scholars will study at Beijing’s Tsinghua University for an academic year, graduating with a Master’s degree in Global Affairs. Scholars choose between concentrations in public policy, international studies, or economics, and they accompany their classroom studies with hands-on experience in their fields of interest. Students also study Mandarin during their year abroad.

For several of Harvard’s newly minted scholars, the opportunity to combine their academic interests with an international experience made the Schwarzman Scholars fellowship particularly appealing.

Li, who studies Neurobiology with a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy, saw the program as a chance to explore healthcare in China firsthand and learn more about public policy from an international perspective.

“There's a lot we can learn from how China's currently growing and grappling with the different issues it's facing in its rapid growth,” she said.

Colocci, an integrative biology concentrator, saw the fellowship as a means of approaching issues she learned about at Harvard from a “new lens.”

“I've been doing a lot of science stuff at Harvard, that I kind of thought that I should take a year to see how people from more social science or other backgrounds approach it,” she said. “Especially because there kind of seems to be a divide between people who study science and policymakers who might not have.”

Flores, a native Chilean, said the positive and productive relations between Chile and China in recent years motivated him to apply to the program. He said his interest in the intersection of public policy, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals also made China an attractive place to learn more about interactions between government and society.

“One day, when I go back to Chile and do public service, which I definitely want to do at one point, I will incorporate this knowledge of how China works into Chile-China relations and have them as partners in advancement of research and technology,” Flores said.

Gandhi said he looks forward to his year in China to learn about and implement ideas related to impact investing. He encouraged other students to look into international experiences to learn about and gain new perspectives on issues they study in Harvard classes.

“You can read countless news articles, you can take classes, but if you really want to understand what's going on and how to actually make a difference, there's no better way than to spend some time on the ground,” Gandhi said.

The Schwarzman Scholars program was founded by CEO and co-founder of financial firm Blackstone Stephen A. Schwarzman.

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