(Taipei, August 21, 2017) Bai Xian Asia Institute (BXAI) held its third BXAI Summer Program from July 31-August 16 to mobilize university students towards positive cross-cultural engagement and good citizenship. Taking place on the Taipei and Xitou Nature Education Area campuses of National Taiwan University (NTU), the two-and-a-half-week Program brought together 117 scholars enrolled in BXAI’s partner universities in Greater China, Japan and Korea to participate in constructive dialogue, establish mutual understanding, and develop lifelong friendships.
BXAI aims to realize its mission of building bridges across cultures through its Asian Future Scholarship Program (AFLSP). As one of the 16 partner universities in the AFLSP and this Summer Program’s host, NTU joins BXAI in promoting peace and progress through intercultural education.
Participants in the Summer Program had the opportunity to hear from and interact with more than 57 recognized leaders in the arts and sciences, politics, academia, non-profit and business. The networking of more than 200 people from the Bai Xian Community allowed participants to engage in stimulating team-building challenges, work together on group projects, develop personal and interpersonal skills, and foster deeper learning about East Asia’s most critical issues.
Students spent the first four days of the Program in NTU’s Xitou Nature Education Area, a large nature reserve in Taiwan’s mountainous Nantou County. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, they climbed 7-storey trees, and learned how to farm and do woodwork while appreciating the remarkable beauty of their environment. The activities in Xitou were perfect for ice-breaking and team-building, and prepared the students well for the remaining time in Taipei. In addition to speaker sessions and panel discussions, students participated in problem solving activities at NTU’s D-school, visited the headquarters of O’right, an eco-friendly cosmetics company, and checked out the wide variety of offerings in Taipei’s famous night markets.
As the focus of this year’s Summer Program was “Sustainability and Entrepreneurship,” through panels led by distinguished experts, academics, and leaders, students learned about the social and environmental crises facing Asia, including mass urbanization and the unequal distribution of resources. The Scholars also joined social entrepreneurship workshops which aimed to equip them with the skills necessary to create start-ups that attempt to tackle Asia’s pressing challenges. Successful social entrepreneurs and professors imparted their wisdom and stories while teaching the importance of socially responsible business. Students also participated enthusiastically in public speaking and personal development workshops which helped them to prepare for their own social entrepreneurship pitches in the Final Presentations.
The Summer Program concluded on August 16 with a Closing Ceremony held at NTU’s Global Initiatives Symposium Convention Center. Professor Ching-Ray Chang, the University’s Interim President, told the audience how NTU and Bai Xian Asia Institute share the same mission for intercultural collaboration. Prof. Luisa Chang, Vice President for International Affairs, followed by expressing her joy watching participants grow and change throughout the Program.
Representing diverse fields of study, AFLSP Scholars from different regions in East Asia took to the stage and presented interesting monologues about their views, thoughts and multicultural experiences. Monica Nagashima and Judy You-shan Tsai reflected on their studies in energy and environmental science. Satoru Kishi and Yu Ruichuan asked guests to rise above their preconceptions, and listen to people regardless of their age, culture, or background. Lin Wan Wen and Kim Eun Seo followed with their perspectives on social entrepreneurship and responsibility. Finally, Shunzo Hayashi, Jisoo Lee, and Zaiwei Liu presented their plan to support underprivileged children living in rural areas of China.
Mr. Ronald Lee, Managing Director, Head of Private Wealth Management of Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C. was then invited to give the Closing Ceremony’s keynote address. After sharing about his own Korean-American heritage, and how he has spent the past 24 years living and working in Asia, Mr. Lee drew on the lessons he had learned from working with entrepreneurs. From this he encouraged Scholars to constantly and persistently question their world, consider the wisdom of the crowd, and to believe in their own capacity to succeed.
As the Ceremony approached its end, Ms. Ronna Chao, CEO of Bai Xian Asia Institute, delivered her closing remarks:
“Although our time together has been relatively short, we hope that the experiences and opportunities we have intentionally designed into the Summer Program have ignited a number of important engines that will propel you along the many pathways you will travel in the future. Broaden your vision. Open your minds. Challenge your own views and beliefs. Listen to others with empathy. Cultivate understanding and relationships. Do things for meaning and impact, not for easy success and self-gratification. Enrich yourselves so that you can enrich others. Widen your circle of influence.”
The Closing Ceremony culminated in the presentation of Summer Program 2017 completion certificates to the Scholars, and the awarding of the first Alumni Initiative Award prize to team BRIDGE whose business proposal was to connect NGOs with companies, professional retirees, and students interested in utilizing their skills for tackling prevalent social issues. Amidst rounds of applause, Prof. Luisa Chang of NTU passed a Chinese calligraphy album to Prof. Lu Yang of Peking University, symbolizing the handing over of the hosting of the BXAI Summer Program 2018 to Peking University.
BXAI is a wholly independent, non-profit organization established in January 2014 with funding from Bai Xian Education Foundation, Mr. Ronald Chao’s private family foundation. Its establishment is grounded in the belief that education is the most effective catalyst to promote and achieve a prosperous, sustainable, and conflict-free modern Asia.
Through the development and implementation of the AFLSP, BXAI provides the preeminent intercultural and interdisciplinary educational platform in East Asia through its commitment to building a vibrant and collaborative community of scholars, alumni, academics, organizations, and individuals, who share BXAI’s core values, mission and vision.
In determining a robust strategic direction now and into the future, BXAI benefits greatly from the collective expertise and experience of the Bai Xian Community. It is BXAI’s vision that the Bai Xian Community will flourish and continue to inspire and be inspired, sharing its knowledge, support and connections.
About Asian Future Leaders Scholarship Program (AFLSP)
The AFLSP is a Pan-Asian initiative that enables young Asian scholars to study abroad in another Asian country, take part in an intercultural and interdisciplinary Enrichment Program, and connect with like-minded peers and leaders (together as the “Bai Xian Community”.) By way of granting up to 105 scholarships per year to elite students enrolled at 16 leading universities across 9 cities in Greater China, Japan, and Korea, the AFLSP supports their tuition and living expenses for undergraduate, MBA, or other Master’s/Doctoral degrees studies. The AFLSP aims at developing future leaders to embrace cultural diversity in Asia.
AFLSP encourages inter-regional student mobility, intercultural and interdisciplinary learning initiatives, and partnerships between Asian university campuses. All AFLSP Scholars receive either a 12-or-24-month scholarship for an undergraduate, MBA or Master’s/MPhil degree at one of our 16 partner universities (6 Anchor Universities and 10 Participating Universities):
6 Anchor Universities
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
10 Participating Universities
National Taiwan University
Seoul National University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong
The University of Tokyo
The first cohort of AFLSP Scholars graduated in 2016. BXAI envisions the growth of a vibrant network of AFLSP alumni who collaborate on projects and initiatives across borders. The inaugural Alumni Initiative Award took place during BXAI Summer Program 2017 to encourage our alumni to develop socially responsible action plans.
Judged by a panel of distinguished business leaders, academics, and guests, BXAI Summer Program alumni gave competing pitches for a US $2500 cash prize and USD $5000-15,000 in seed funding. Team BRIDGE won the first Alumni Initiative Award with their proposal for an online platform that links regional NGOs with available talent.
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