Li Peirong '24 Awarded Prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship

li peirong
Dec 8 2023

NYU Shanghai senior Li Peirong '24 has been named a Schwarzman Scholar, winning a one-year, fully-funded fellowship to Tsinghua University’s Schwarzman College in Beijing where he will pursue a Master’s degree in Global Affairs, starting in August 2024. The Schwarzman Class of 2025 represents 43 countries and 114 universities, making Li one of 150 chosen scholars who stood out among 4,200 applicants this year.

Li is NYU Shanghai’s tenth Schwarzman Scholar and one of six scholars from NYU’s global network selected this year. Joining him are Stéphane Mao Bincheng NYU ’23, Derrick Liu Zhiyan NYU ’24, Addie Mae Villas NYUAD ’24, Sachi Pilapitya NYUAD ’24, and Valentin Josan NYUAD ’24.

The Schwarzman Scholarship supports nearly 200 young scholars annually from the US, China, and around the world. Chosen for their potential to bridge political and cultural differences through outstanding leadership, scholars embark on a journey that will prepare them to face future geopolitical challenges by focusing on China and its relationship with countries around the world.

“Schwarzman Scholars and NYU Shanghai have a very similar vision – building bridges between China and the world,” says Li, a Social Science major with a focus on Political Science. “Winning the scholarship opens a new frontier for me to keep doing that.”

Li decided to apply for the scholarship in Spring 2023 after reflecting on how his major research, internship, and leadership experiences at NYU Shanghai aligned with the program’s mission. After a round of screening, he was invited to Beijing for an in-person interview and enjoyed exchanging perspectives with a diverse group of candidates. “The current geopolitical landscape is defined by US-China relations, and Schwarzman’s ability to attract the brightest minds from both countries encouraged me to study, research, and build connections with these scholars,” he says. 

As diverse as the Scholars come, Li believes they are fundamentally united by a few common traits. Leadership and intercultural competency are of utmost importance, he says, along with empathy, open mindedness, and integrity. He adds that NYU Shanghai has been “phenomenal” in providing resources and opportunities for him to develop these qualities.

As student body vice president and president from 2022 to 2024, Li prioritized building bridges between Chinese and international students at NYU Shanghai and revitalizing a community that felt at times fragmented due to pandemic-related hardships. He led the team in creating shared experiences through programming and dialogue that would break down barriers and foster a multicultural environment. “Events and initiatives such as the Wellbeing Expo, Carnival of Terror, and Leadership & DEI Roundtables produced significant results,” said Li. “I hope that we can keep the momentum.”

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs David Pe commended Li for his commitment and engagement in university life which has fostered a sense of belonging among NYU Shanghai’s student body. “Peirong’s efforts remind us all of the power of coming together to overcome challenges and build a stronger, more connected university community,” he said. “I am so excited to see Peirong continue his work as a builder across cultures in his new role as a Schwarzman Scholar.”

receives torch
Left: Li receives the NYU Shanghai torch from classmate Ariana Alvarez ’23 during the NYU Shanghai’s commencement ceremony. Right: Li leads Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka on a tour of the New Bund Campus.

Li’s impact on the NYU Shanghai community extends beyond his dedicated role in Student Government. Over the course of his college career, he’s worked with TEDxNYUShanghai, Admissions, the Center for Career Development, and University Communications. “In working on a wide range of tasks and leading different organizations, these opportunities equipped me to lead effectively, understand other cultures, perspectives and positions, and develop empathy,” he says.

leading guests on campus
Left: Li spoke as a student representative in a roundtable with NYU’s 17th President Linda G. Mills. Right: Li presented a student-made farewell gift to NYU’s 16th President Andrew Hamilton.

Li says the University community, including professors, the Global Awards Office, and alumni, was instrumental in supporting him throughout his application process. “Their guidance was indispensable in helping me better understand myself and encouraging me to pursue my goals,” he says. “I made full use of university resources including the Center for Career Development for polishing resumes and [connecting with] some of our outstanding alumni who inspired me to apply.”

“In the year that we celebrate NYU Shanghai’s 10th anniversary, the Office of Global Awards heartily congratulates Peirong on the milestone of becoming NYU Shanghai’s 10th Schwarzman Scholar,” said Director of Global Awards Anna Kendrick. “In all our conversations during the application process, I was so impressed by Peirong’s sense of responsibility, care for the community, and willingness to put in the time and dedication to aim high and bring others along with him.”

Looking ahead, Li says he’s excited to explore how realism is applied in the Chinese context and gain access to policymakers and officials through a course called Deep Dive. “I am excited to use these opportunities to observe how policymaking relates to theories,” he says. 

Read more about past NYU Shanghai winners of the Schwarzman Scholars Fellowship:

Xu Jingzhi ’22

Taylah Bland ’21 and Alex Liu Zhengyuan ’21

Harry Zixin Wang ’20, Frank Jiaqiao Xiang ’20, and Owen Junan Zhang ’20

Nofar Hamrany ’18

Roxanne Roman ’17 and Jacko Walz ’17