Wall Street mogul Stephen Schwarzman unveils £186m scholarship programme in China for students from around the world

The scheme’s advisory board includes Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy and Colin Powell

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The Independent Online

Wall Street mogul Stephen Schwarzman, whose firm, Blackstone, is one of the most biggest global players in the private equity arena, took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the building that will house his £186m scholarship programme in China for students from around the world.

Alongside Chinese government and university officials, the founder of the private equity firm Blackstone turned a shovel at a ceremonial event on the campus of Tsinghua University. The first class of Schwarzman Scholars – based on the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship programme – will study there in 2016.

“My vision for Schwarzman Scholars is to help educate a future class of leaders who will advance relationships of mutual respect between the West and China, reducing tensions and leading to a new era of mutual prosperity,” he said.

The eight-storey building will include an auditorium, library, sunken garden, dining hall, fitness area, apartments and a floor area of over 250,000 sq ft. The US tycoon reckons it’s the largest philanthropic gift with foreign money in China’s history.

The endowment will allow 200 students each year to take part in a one-year master’s programme in  public policy, economics and  business, international relations or engineering at Tsinghua University, starting in June 2016.

Mr Schwarzman has personally contributed £62m to the programme, and private donors have contributed another £62m. The rest has come from a campaign that he has led over the last six months. The aim is that 45 per cent of the students would come from the US, 20 per cent from China and the rest from other parts of the world.

The advisory board includes former world leaders such as France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, Britain’s Tony Blair, Canada’s Brian Mulroney and Australia’s Kevin Rudd. Former US secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice are also on the board, as well as top cellist Yo-yo Ma.

Tsinghua is one of China’s top universities, and has produced many of China’s senior leaders, including both President Xi Jinping and former President Hu Jintao.