March 2009 | By Sophie Guerin and Jane Leung Larson
The Committee of 100 welcomed over 200 guests in honor of the 28 recipients of C-100’s 2009 Leadership Scholarship Awards (LSP) on March 26 at the China World Hotel Grand Ballroom in Beijing. Among the distinguished guests were Han Qide, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission William Weinstein (United States Embassy in Beijing), a number of corporate executives active in China, as well as C-100 members and over 14 prominent Chinese university representatives.
||Scholarship winners and Committee members at Awards Ceremony (click the photo to enlarge)|
Launched by the Committee in 2005, the Leadership Scholarship Program (LSP) is designed to assist Chinese students reach their greatest potential through a monetary scholarship. By recognizing a broad spectrum of students, the Committee of 100 seeks to strengthen dialogue between Committee members and China’s top academic institutions. Scholarship winners are chosen on the basis of leadership, academic excellence and community service.
The evening’s program kicked off with a lively introduction from Rui Chenggang of CCTV and Christina Lau, Director of External Affairs for Coca-Cola. Leadership Scholarship Program Chairman Ya-Qin Zhang (Chairman of Microsoft China R&D Group) and Kai-Fu Lee (Google Greater China President) encouraged the winning students to strive for excellence in everything that they seek to accomplish.
World-renowned artist Zhou Changxin took the stage to donate one of his exquisite garden-themed oil paintings for an upcoming auction to benefit the scholarship program (date TBA). The evening’s keynote speaker was David Chang, Chancellor of Polytechnic Institute of New York Unversity. He later commented, “It is wonderful to see so many service-minded students selected this year. It encourages us all to renew our commitment to community service.”
After Zhang presented each student with an award, those selected by a team of judges as the top ten and the top three were announced. The top three students were chosen not only on their overall excellence but for their written responses to questions. The three top scholars were Wang Pei-Pei from Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhang Wen Lei from Fudan University and Ji Yang from Shanghai Jiaotong University.
An exciting live competition among the top three was held to determine who would be the 2009 LSP Class President. Students responded to two questions, one from the earlier written competition and the second a randomly drawn question. All three students gave impressive answers, and a tense 15 minutes followed while the audience and evening’s judges deliberated.
While the students waited, Dong Yi-Chen and Ling Jie, ribbon and ball gymnasts from the Chinese National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team performed a spectacular series of contortions and dance routines. A drawing for prizes followed, with two iPod Nanos presented by guest judge Barry Friedman (Wal-Mart China Vice-President of Corporate Affairs), a series of NBA collector pins by Tim Chen (NBA China CEO), a dinner for six at the Legation Quarter by Handel Lee (Legation Quarter Executive Chairman), and a round-trip business class ticket from Shanghai to New York by Oliver Hao (Continental Airlines Director of Sales & Marketing).
Students then filed on stage in anticipation of the announcement. There was a tense drum roll before Ji Yang of Shanghai Jiaotong University was named as 2009 LSP Class President by eleven judges and the audience. She thanked the audience, saying, “I am honored to accept this award. I hope that as a class of 28 we can collectively organize and launch programs aimed at making a difference in our respective and shared communities.”
||Center stage are 2009 Class President Ji Yang and LSP Chairman Ya-Qin Zhang (click the photo to enlarge)|
Ji Yang as the 2009 Class President has been invited to attend the C-100 conference in Washington. Building upon C-100’s commitment to developing strong leaders, she will further be expected to promote and oversee leadership initiatives with the participation of her fellow scholarship recipients.
Also attending the event were David Liu, Wei Christianson, and Cecilia M. Chang, wife of David Chang.
Earlier in the day, C-100 Leadership Scholarship Committee members Zhang, Lee, Carter Tseng and Jeffrey Li answered questions from over 30 members of the press. Student interviews followed, giving the media a chance to obtain candid answers from award recipients. Zhang explained why the students were involved in the press conference: “In preparation for their future careers, we wanted to provide students the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their leadership skills. They conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism and integrity; this is truly an exceptional class.”
Leadership Scholarship Program judges were Dr. Ya-Qin Zhang; Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, Google Inc. Vice President, Google Greater China President; Dr. Carter Tseng, Founder & CEO of the Little Dragon Foundation; Dr. H.K. Chang, City University of Hong Kong President Emeritus; and Mr. Jeffrey Li, Novartis Country Organization Country President and Chief Representative.
Honored Guest Judges were Dr. David Chang; Ms. Wei Christianson, Morgan Stanley China CEO & Managing Director, Member of the Committee of 100; Mr. Barry Friedman; Mr. Tim Chen; Mr. M.C. Chan, Caterpillar (China) Investment Co., Ltd. President; and Mr. John Watkins, Cummins Inc., Vice-President and Cummins, East Asia President.