January 11, 2016 – A 2015 School of Foreign Service (SFS) graduate, is among only 111 out of more than 3,000 candidates from 135 countries receiving Schwarzman scholarships, a new award designed to prepare global leaders and build stronger links between the United States and China.
Jose M. Luna, 22, of Mexico City, is among the first cohort of Schwarzman Scholars, who will pursue fully funded, one-year master's degrees at the newly created Schwarzman College on the campus of Tsinghua University in Beijing.
An international economics major at Georgetown who speaks fluent Chinese is among the 3.7 percent of candidates accepted to the new program, which was inspired by the Rhodes scholarship.
The degrees are designed to merge the academic and professional worlds to educate students about leadership and China's expanding role in the world and provide scholars with high-level interactions with Chinese leaders, an internship program, a mentors network and intensive travel seminars.
“Ever since I heard about this program it became somewhat of a dream for me, so being awarded a Schwarzman scholarship is incredibly exciting,” Luna says. “Not only am I excited that I will get to go back to China, but also the program itself sounds incredible and I am thrilled about everything I will learn, the experiences I will have and the relationships I will forge.”
Schwarzman Scholars pursue degrees in one of three disciplines – public policy; economics and business; or international studies. Luna, who says he will chose between the two former disciplines, began taking Chinese language courses in his first year of high school and continued those studies at Georgetown.
He also studied abroad in an intensive language program at Beijing’s Minzu University.
Struggles and Triumphs
“My interest in China is derived both from all the lessons the world can learn from their past successes and challenges, as well as its potential to become a country of enormous consequence,” he says. “The challenges China faces today are not simple ones, but as it continues to become an increasingly important part of the world, its struggles as well as its triumphs will involve all of us in one way or another.”
A first-year analyst at Locus Analytics in New York City, Luna’s long-term career aspiration is to work with the public and private sectors in Mexico and other areas to promote economic growth, foreign investment and high-quality public policies.
“My immediate goal is to get into the MBA program at Oxford's Säid Business School, with which Schwarzman Scholars has a partnership,” he says. “Should I get into this MBA, I will pursue it the year following the Schwarzman Scholars program.”
Class With Madame Secretary
"A participant in many community service projects on and off campus through The Corp and Georgetown’s Mexican Students Association and Latin American Students Association, Luna says he chose to study at Georgetown because SFS is “a one-of-a-kind school” that fit his interests.
He said the course that most influenced him at Georgetown was America's National Security Toolbox with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
"Beyond the appeal of taking a class with a Secretary of State, this class taught me to look at the world through a different, more sophisticated lens,” he says. “Secretary Albright did an amazing job of imparting her knowledge on the class while at the same time letting us reach our own conclusions and ask difficult questions. Taking the class gave me a renewed hope in international affairs and galvanized my interest in participating in that realm.”
Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder of a global investment firm called Blackstone, created Schwarzman Scholars program.
Schwarzman, who says he was inspired by the Rhodes scholarship, is an active philanthropist who has personally donated $100 million to the effort and is leading a campaign to raise $350 million more to fully endow the program.
“The caliber of this first class of Schwarzman Scholars is truly exceptional," he says. "Each scholar has demonstrated tremendous leadership potential at a young age and differentiated themselves through a myriad of academic and non-academic pursuits."