For many Barnard alumnae, being a lifelong learner is par for the course. Recent graduate Alison Kahn ’21 is putting that ethos into practice as a member of the 2023-2024 class of Schwarzman Scholars, the organization announced on December 8.
The highly competitive fellowship will take Kahn, who majored in political science and human rights, and 150 of her peers from 36 countries and 121 universities to Beijing’s Tsinghua University for a one-year, fully funded master’s program in global affairs. More than 400 candidates were invited to interview.
“I hope that the Schwarzman program will help me deepen my understanding of China and develop stronger tools to advance justice and peace in the face of the climate crisis, which is compelling us all to think differently about what collective care looks like,” said Kahn. “I’m grateful for the opportunities I had while at Barnard to participate in internships and student organizations — like Students for Sanctuary, GlobeMed, and CIRCA — and to continue pursuing my love of the arts at the same time. My education, inside and outside of the classroom, helped me flesh out what it means to center human rights work on the agency and needs of people who are most impacted by structural violence, and I’m glad to have been able to lift up others along the way.”
Designed to support the next generation of leaders — whether in politics, business, or science — the program offers scholars the opportunity to learn more about China from internships, mentors, and internationally renowned speakers. Through coursework, cultural immersion, and professional development opportunities, the fellowship “equips students with a well-rounded understanding of China’s changing role in the world.”
“As the geopolitical landscape grows more complex each day, I am inspired by this year’s selected scholars and their readiness to engage thoughtfully with global issues and drive change,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, founding trustee of Schwarzman Scholars. “We are confident that this inspiring cohort of young leaders will make the most of this unique opportunity.”
Beyond Barnard, which provides advising on competitive fellowships for students and alumnae as part of its career support resources, is confident in Kahn’s ability to take what she learns through the fellowship to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century. The aspiring law school student was also a Fulbright U.S. Student Program alternate last year and since graduating has been working in Washington, D.C., on immigrant rights, foreign policy, climate and economic justice, and demilitarization as the David Paul Policy Fellow at the American Friends Service Committee.
“We’re so excited for Alison as she joins the next cohort of Schwarzman Scholars,” said Beyond Barnard’s A-J Aronstein, assistant vice president of lifelong success. “It’s an impressive achievement, and it’s made all the more inspiring by the fact that she’s joining a community of Barnard graduates who have successfully pursued this path.” In the past five years, Barnard has seen four scholars participate in this prestigious global program.
The program for the new class will begin in August 2023.
About Schwarzman Scholars
Schwarzman Scholars is a one year, fully funded master’s program in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. As the first scholarship of its kind created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century, Schwarzman Scholars aspires to build a
global network of young leaders that are prepared to confront the pressing challenges facing the world.
Each year, up to 200 candidates are chosen for this highly selective program. Scholars are selected based on their leadership qualities and the potential to understand and bridge cultural and political differences. They live in Beijing for a year of intensive study, honing leadership skills through a curriculum designed and taught by leading academics from internationally ranked institutions.