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"Future Leaders" start their journey at PKU

SEP . 21 2020
Peking University, September 21, 2020: On Saturday, September 19th, Peking University welcomed 36 students in the first cohort of its "Future Leaders" Program at a New Student Convocation hosted by the Guanghua School of Management. In addition to the traditional words of wisdom provided by Guanghua Dean LIU Qiao,"Future Leaders" Program students also heard from the former Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova, who spurred them to consider how they can build a better world and a better future.


The "Future Leaders" Program represents a collaboration between Peking University and 15 of the world's best business schools. International students admitted to the "Future Leaders" Program spend two years at Guanghua's partner universities completing foundational coursework in management and economics before joining their Chinese classmates at Peking University to complete specialized business coursework together as a single cohort for the final two years of their undergraduate studies. The Program generally only admits students in the top 20% of their class and seeks out outstanding young people who possess a well-defined vision, leadership potential, and the courage to explore new and different cultures. The first cohort of students truly stands out as budding global citizens.

Scholars, pioneers, and innovators educated at Peking University have made profound contributions to the economic and social development of both China and the global community, a tradition it aims to extend to the first cohort of "Future Leaders". Program participant Harisa Natasha Haron said Peking University attracted her because it is "a university that is not only academically renowned, but one that is also rich in culture and history." Despite PKU's Chinese roots, it has always looked outward and embraced its role as the global community's nexus to China.


At the Convocation, Guanghua Dean LIU Qiao welcomed "Future Leaders" students saying, "though we can only meet virtually, we are bonded together by our mutual concern for one another. We eagerly await your arrival in Beijing." Deans and other leadership from the Program's partner schools previously sent personalized messages congratulating students on their acceptance into Peking University and encouraging them to leverage the unique opportunity provided by the "Future Leaders" Program.

As part of the next generation that will define the trajectory of key global issues, new students must prepare themselves to engage with the world and derive solutions to intractable problems. Informed by an illustrious career that has included eight years as Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova shared her belief that "the challenges today need renewed commitment to international cooperation against the background of the immense opportunities that exist and the challenges ahead." She highlighted the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 as a blueprint for inclusive, equitable, and environmentally-friendly growth that would "leave no one behind."


Bokova challenged students to pursue a sustainable path of development, especially with respect to technology. "…[E]mbrace the change, innovate, lead. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said 'The only constant in life is change'," she said. This was an important reminder in a year filled with extraordinary challenges impacting virtually all aspects of daily life. The global landscape will continue to be fraught with uncertainty, and students must learn how to plot a way forward despite constant change.

However, as Bokova acknowledged, leading requires more than embracing change; it also requires a collaborative spirit. Bokova told students, "if you want to learn and lead, you will need to work with others – you will have to collaborate, to exchange."


Peking University's "Future Leaders" Program was created directly in response to the need to cultivate movers and shakers able to bridge cultures and societies in their chosen fields. Students will live and study together with classmates of diverse backgrounds from 12 different countries and regions, including Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Singapore, and more, creating a unique platform to form and exchange new ideas. The program, designed by Guanghua, also allows students to become intimately familiar with Chinese business and society through specialized China-focused coursework, Chinese language classes, and an immersive experiential learning course at Guanghua's branch campuses across China.

Janina Baal, a program participant from Germany said, "I am very grateful to be part of the 'Future Leaders' Program because I think it is an amazing opportunity to meet driven and passionate people from all around the world with various backgrounds, be able to study together, and learn from each other."


Her goal mirrors Peking University's aspirations for "Future Leaders" Program students. "I hope that you will grow as individuals but that you will also find a higher purpose," said LIU. "And as you discover what drives you, may you do everything in your power to make the world a better place."

Source: Peking University Guanghua School of Management