US tycoon gifts $300 million to Beijing university scholars

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US PRIVATE equity tycoon Stephen Schwarzman has announced the establishment of a $300 million (£197m) endowment scholarship programme in China for students from around the world, and billed it as a rival to the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Mr Schwarzman, founder of the private equity firm Blackstone, said he would give $100m as a personal gift and raise another $200m to endow the Schwarzman Scholars programme at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. It will be the largest philanthropic gift with foreign money in China’s history, according to the tycoon and the university.

The Wall Street mogul said China’s rapid economic growth and rising global influence would define the 21st century, as US ties to Europe did to the 20th century – when the Rhodes Scholarship was created at Oxford University with the goal of producing outstanding leaders.

By partnering with the prestigious Chinese university, Mr Schwarzman said he hoped the educational programme would train future world leaders and play a positive role in relations between China and the US.