ICLS Concentrator Kewen Kong Receives Schwarzman Scholarship
Five Columbians, including two College students and a College alumnus, have been named Class of 2024 Schwarzman Scholars. Kewen Kong CC’23, Rory Madigan CC’20 and Charlie Wallace CC’23 will attend Tsinghua University in Beijing next year for a one-year master’s program in global affairs.
Inspired by the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, the Schwarzman Scholars program selects recipients for their leadership potential, intellect and strength of character. This year’s 151 recipients — hailing from 36 countries and 121 universities — were selected from an applicant pool of nearly 3,000.
The Schwarzman Scholars program’s mission is to allow participants to deepen their understanding of China’s changing role in the world and the economic, political and cultural factors that have contributed to its growing influence as a global power. The program also seeks to promote international understanding, peace and collaboration. Beyond the classroom, scholars learn about China by spending the year traveling within the country, and gain access to professional networks through internships, mentorships, high-profile speakers and engaged faculty members.
Columbia’s other Schwarzman Scholars for the Class of 2024 are David Chen GS’22 and Vish Rao SEAS’23.
Kewen Kong is a senior studying comparative literature and Italian studies. Born in Italy and raised in China, he was president of the Hong Kong Students and Scholars Society and a member of the AAPI Rights Board and Columbia Cultural Exchange. He has produced and published several short stories as well as a film about wealth disparity in Hong Kong.
A firm believer in storytelling’s power to overcome political division, Kong says he wishes to institute an international platform that promotes conversation among global leaders who aspire to dissolve cultural borders. Through the Schwarzman Scholars program, he hopes to gain the skills “to foster healthier and more genuine communications between cultures that emphasize our fundamental similarities, rather than exaggerate our minute differences.”
Kong’s advice for prospective applicants: “Reach out to current scholars and learn about their stories. Their advice helped me a lot in my application.”