NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) seniors Atoka Jo and Alexander MacKay have been selected to the 2020 cohort of Schwarzman Scholars, one of the world’s most prestigious graduate fellowships, which welcomes young leaders from around the world to Tsinghua University in Beijing for a Masters in Global Affairs, with concentrations in one of the following disciplines: public policy, economics and business, and international studies.
Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship and is designed to prepare future global leaders to meet the geopolitical challenges of the 21st century. The vision of Schwarzman Scholars is to bring together the world’s best young minds to explore and understand the economic, political, and cultural factors that have contributed to China’s increasing importance as a global power, and to make them more effective as links between China and the rest of the world.
I am thrilled to be a part of the Schwarzman Scholars community, which I have already fallen in love with when I met the other candidates at the Bangkok interview. I hope to not only expand my knowledge and horizon, but also think of ways to collaborate with other scholars to better the world. Personally, I hope to utilize this opportunity as a stepping-stone to achieve my ambition of working at the United Nations. I would like to express my eternal gratitude to my family, friends, professors, and NYUAD for supporting me to accomplish this goal.
Originally from Japan, Jo will graduate from NYUAD in 2019 and is majoring in Social Research and Public Policy, with minors in Interactive Media and Theater. McKay, from Canada, will also graduate this academic year and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in the Environment.
I am humbled to be welcomed into the 2020 cohort of Schwarzman Scholars and hope to leverage this opportunity to pursue influence in promotion of sustainable development. I am excited to continue my education in China and to join another community of passionate young people as we attempt to take on the greatest challenges of the 21st century together. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this journey and who can share this accomplishment with me.
NYUAD has produced five Schwarzman Scholars since the program welcomed its inaugural class in 2016. Previously, NYUAD graduates Corey Meyer, Class of 2015; Mohammad Omar, Class of 2014; and Mandy Tan, Class of 2015 were selected to the first, second and third cohorts of the elite scholarship.
From over 2,800 applicants, 147 students were admitted to the Class of 2020, which is comprised of students from 38 countries and 119 universities, with 40% originating from the United States, 20% from China, and 40% from the rest of the world. The Class of 2020 will enroll in August 2019.
The Scholars are selected through a rigorous application process designed to evaluate academic ability, as well as leadership potential and strength of character. The selection process relies on readers from different regions and backgrounds who provide insights to identify the highest level of leadership and academic excellence across the world.
More than 400 semi-finalists were invited to interview in either Beijing, Bangkok, London or New York, and went before panels of distinguished figures comprised of CEOs, former heads of state, university presidents, non-profit executives, journalists and other leaders from around the world.