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Senior Jinwan Park receives Schwarzman Scholarship to study in China

December 6, 2023 By Doug Erickson

University of Wisconsin–Madison senior Jinwan Park has been named a Schwarzman Scholar, an esteemed honor that comes with full tuition for a one-year master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

The scholarship, inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, seeks to “prepare the next generation of global leaders for the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.” Park was among 150 students selected from a pool of more than 4,000 candidates. The winners represent 43 countries and 114 universities from around the world.

Jinwan Park

“The caliber of this incoming class and their potential fills me with optimism for the future,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, founding trustee of Schwarzman Scholars, in an announcement. “This year’s selected scholars are keenly interested in learning about China, which is now more important than ever in this complex geopolitical environment.”

Park is from South Korea and transferred to UW–Madison in the spring of 2022. He will graduate this December with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a certificate in East Asian studies.

Park has a deep passion for foreign policy, international law and diplomacy, evident in his contributions to the Council on Foreign Relations, Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the U.S. Consulate in South Korea. He is a co-founder of Education Empowerment Korea, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting underprivileged South Korean students who aspire to study abroad.

Park says his two years at UW–Madison inspired him to aim higher and pursue opportunities he had never before considered. Among his numerous honors as an undergraduate, he says the achievement he most cherishes is the bachelor’s degree itself.

“Deciding to transfer to UW–Madison was a significant challenge, particularly as our family was still grappling with the aftermath of financial fraud committed by a close friend of my parents,” he says. “My college journey was laden with burdens beyond what many others face, and I am genuinely proud of myself. I also owe immense gratitude to my parents for their unwavering and invaluable support under these difficult circumstances. Being selected for the Schwarzman Scholars program and completing my degree are profound affirmations for both me and my family, demonstrating that perseverance in the face of adversity can lead to great outcomes.”

Park envisions a future role as a key foreign policy decision-maker for South Korea. To read more about Park, please see this Q&A interview.

Scholars are selected through a competitive application process designed to identify leadership potential, intellect and strength of character. Close to 400 candidates were invited to interview with panels of CEOs, government leaders, university presidents and non-profit executives, among others. Starting in August 2024, the scholars will engage in a graduate curriculum focused on the pillars of leadership, global affairs and China.

The Schwarzman Scholars program was created in 2013. Park is the fourth Badger to be awarded the scholarship, following Fangdi Pan in 2018 and Brian Drout and Chien Sheng in 2016.