Emily Venturi, a 2018 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Alice Huang, a 2016 graduate, have been selected for the Schwarzman Scholars program, an elite China-based scholarship modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship, founded by Blackstone co-founder and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman.
Venturi and Huang were two of about 140 Schwarzman Scholars chosen in November from around the world for the fourth cohort of Schwarzman Scholars. They are the sixth and seventh Schwarzman Scholars from UNC-Chapel Hill. This innovative master’s degree program supports study at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University and bridges the academic and professional worlds to educate students about leadership and China’s expanding role in the world.
“Being named a Schwarzman scholar is an exceptional achievement. This scholarship is also a passport to international studies and new experiences for these two amazingly talented graduates,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Thanks to the Schwarzman opportunity, Emily will continue her insightful work in the area of refugee protection, and Alice will take her studies in development economics to the next level. I know we will read about their successes in the years to come.”
Venturi, 23, from Trieste, Italy, is the daughter of Vittorio Venturi and Tracy Katherine Stannard and is the first Italian woman to be awarded the scholarship. She graduated from the United World College in 2014. Venturi graduated from Carolina in May 2018 with highest distinction, majoring in political science and economics.
Venturi came to UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar, becoming a member of Honors Carolina and a scholar with the Buckley Public Service Program, which combines a substantial and sustained commitment to public service with structured training and reflection on that service. Venturi currently works in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Division of Resilience and Solutions. She is also a research assistant for UNC-Chapel Hill’s political science department, studying European Union integration and multi-level governance. While at Carolina, Venturi was senior editor for “The Internationalist,” UNC-Chapel Hill’s undergraduate research journal for international affairs.
“I feel humbled and thrilled for the opportunity to spend a year in Beijing as a Schwarzman Scholar—I couldn’t imagine a more exciting community for my graduate studies,” Venturi said. “Understanding China’s strategic influence in forced displacement crises is going to be key for the future of the field and I’m looking forward to this new challenge at Tsinghua University. I’m beyond thankful for the support that I received at Carolina to develop the lifelong friendships, academic interests and mentorship relationships that all really make a difference.”
Venturi’s commitment to innovative approaches to refugee protection stems from her work in impact-investing for refugee integration in Armenia, her research in migration’s role in EU development policy in Senegal and her teaching of an undergraduate seminar in comparative legal studies in the United States. Emily plans to use her time at Tsinghua University studying how China’s global role will strengthen cooperation and solutions in forced displacement crises. Ultimately, Venturi plans to continue her work to mobilize international stakeholders for the protection and integration of displaced people worldwide.
“It only takes a short conversation with Emily to see that she is a very unusual person. She is perhaps the most internationally minded person I have met at UNC-Chapel Hill,” said Inger Brodey, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “Emily is remarkable for her hands-on research experience around the world, as well as in her ease in working with foreign ambassadors and their staffs in Senegal, Rome and Brussels. She will be a natural to the kind of high-level networking that the Schwarzman community offers and will be an important force in establishing better structures for immigration and displaced peoples.”
Huang, 24, from Chapel Hill, is the daughter of Weishi Huang and Qinghong Yang. She graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in 2012. She graduated from the UNC-Chapel Hill in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree with highest distinction in economics and mathematics. Huang currently works in New York City as an associate analyst and research assistant for NERO Economic Consulting.
“I’m excited and deeply grateful to have been named a Schwarzman Scholar,” said Huang. “I’m thankful to friends, family and mentors along the way who have not only fostered my interest in international development, but have also, over the years, helped me embrace my Chinese-American heritage. I’m excited to embark on this personally and professionally transformative experience.”
At UNC-Chapel Hill, Huang was an Honors Carolina student and a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Huang served as the executive director of Students for Students International, which promotes education and provides sustainable educational resources for exceptional students in the developing world. She also worked as a student consultant for Oxford Microfinance Initiative in Oxford, England, and was a summer research assistant at Peking University China Center for Health Economics Research in Beijing, China. During her senior year at UNC-Chapel Hill, Huang was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English as a Foreign Language in Kolkata, India. Huang also completed an honors thesis about the impact of the Great Chinese Famine on health outcomes.
Huang plans to pursue a career in development economics, using the Schwarzman Scholarship to converse with China’s development practitioners and entrepreneurs to exchange best practices from the field and to learn about policy and negotiations in a Chinese context. She hopes to work for a strategy consulting firm that specializes in global development and to oversee a collaborative development agenda between the U.S., China and other global leaders.
“The Schwarzman selection committee foresees that with her academic expertise and exceptional experience in England and India, as well as China, Alice will be in an excellent position to shape international development policies in the coming decades,” said Brodey. “A Schwarzman Scholarship will enable her to do so from a perspective enriched by the Chinese experts that she will meet during her time at Tsinghua University.”
The worldwide competition attracted 2,887 applicants for approximately 140 Schwarzman Scholarships. The Schwarzman Scholars program is the first scholarship created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century by giving students the opportunity to develop leadership skills and professional networks through a one-year master’s degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Immersed in the culture of Beijing, the scholars are surrounded by an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. In this environment of intellectual engagement, professional development and cultural exchange, they pursue their academic disciplines, travel, build their leadership capacities and develop a better understanding of China.