Belfast, UK, October 8, 2023
The China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), a non-profit founded by Hong Kong’s First Chief Executive Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, has announced the CUSEF Young Leaders Scholarship at the One Young World Summit in Belfast.
The Summit is widely recognized as the leading global youth forum. This year, more than 2,000 people from 190+ countries and 250+ organizations convened in Belfast from October 2-5, among them Queen Rania of Jordan, President Juan Manuel Santos, Sir Bob Geldof, Paul Pohlman and Rio Ferdinand.
CUSEF was invited to host a special panel event to discuss the ‘U.S. and China: How Will They Act for Global Humanity?” Moderated by CUSEF President James Chau, the all-women panelists were: Chinese climate advocate Yuhan Zheng, British concert violinist Tasmin Little, One Young World Managing Director Ella Robertson McKay, and Professor Thuli Madonsela who drafted South Africa’s Constitution under then President Nelson Mandela.
CUSEF Young Leaders Scholarship
During the event James Chau, who also serves as a World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador, unveiled the CUSEF Young Leaders Scholarship. Eight outstanding individuals aged between 18 and 30 years old will be selected from a global search. Successful applicants will benefit from a 12-month leadership training program from One Young World. Candidates from any country can apply, but they must have a proven record of positive impact in global challenges such as climate justice, ending poverty, food security, gender equality and public health.
“The China-United States Exchange Foundation is honored to provide this life-changing opportunity for eight young people to partner for peace,” said CUSEF President James Chau. “With the expertise of One Young World behind us, our scholars will have the skills and confidence to go out into the world and make a lasting impact. We want to build and accelerate a next generation of champions—and link their work to the enduring opportunity that the U.S.-China relationship represents.”
Call for applications will begin in early 2024, followed by a competition to identify the inaugural class of CUSEF scholars. The scholars will benefit from the Hong Kong-based organization’s long-time commitment to youth and education. Since 2008, CUSEF has brought more than 2,000 American students to China, including some 800 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Ella Robertson McKay, One Young World Managing Director, said: “Young people have to say proudly and without fear that we reject a world of conflict, we reject a world where competition trumps compassion, and we embrace a world where we see the humanity in every person. CUSEF and One Young World can be vehicles for that exchange and for that important conversation.”
Partnership for Peace
During the panel event, the speakers called on the U.S. and China to create a visionary “partnership for peace” through joint action on climate change and public health.
British concert violinist Tasmin Little recalled her first visit to China during the early stages of reform and opening-up in 1982: “This experience shaped my life because I witnessed the connecting power of culture.” Referring to the recent openings of the Juilliard School and Menuhin School in Tianjin and Qingdao respectively, she added: “The U.S. and China are leaders in classical music and leaders in the education of classical music—and wherever there is culture, business and dialogue tend to follow. Culture has a huge role to play in connecting people.”
Asked how the U.S. and China can build trust between them, Professor Thuli Madonsela advised the two countries to start by being willing to collaborate: “During the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the economy was dying, and people were starving. At the end of the day, what do we value the most? We all value peace and we all value justice, but we also need to place pragmatism and shared humanity at the center of our global engagement.”
Hong Kong Forum on U.S.-China Relations
CUSEF is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2023. On November 9-10, the organization will welcome international leaders to its annual summit, the Hong Kong Forum on U.S.-China Relations. Speakers this year include U.S. Senator and Ambassador Max Baucus, former U.S. Trade Negotiator Charlene Barshefsky, and President of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft.
Looking ahead, CUSEF President James Chau said: “Forty-five years after they changed the world by normalizing diplomatic ties, the U.S. and China have a relationship of global consequences. But today, fear and suspicion are rapidly replacing trust and goodwill and slowing down progress for the world’s eight billion people. We need to change that. The Hong Kong Forum on U.S.-China Relations and the CUSEF Young Leaders Scholarship are important opportunities to renew global commitments at a global point of reckoning.”
About China-United States Exchange Foundation
The China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) was founded in 2008 by Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, First Chief Executive in Hong Kong, in the compelling belief that the two countries have the capacity and compassion to improve the human condition. Its mission is to build trust between the U.S. and China, to facilitate impactful exchange, and advance understanding through dialogue. CUSEF has brought more than 2,000 American students to China, including the first U.S. college delegation to visit Hong Kong and the mainland since the pandemic in June 2023. It also works with international partners including two American presidential legacies: The Carter Center and the George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations.
About One Young World
One Young World is a UK-based charity, recognized as the world’s largest youth leadership forum. Its annual summit is held in a different global city every year such as Bangkok, Bogota, Johannesburg, Pittsburgh and London. It was founded by Kate Robertson and David Jones, with the early support of a group of eminent leaders including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.