The Dr Chau Chak Wing Scholarships program at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), which enables Australian students to study in China and Chinese students to come to Australia, has passed the 100 scholars mark in just three years.
The scholarships, which build cross-cultural skills and ultimately enhance international relations, began in 2014 – with funding coming from what was, at the time, the largest-ever philanthropic gift by an individual to a university.
“In just three short years over 100 students have benefitted from these scholarships,” UTS Vice-Chancellor Attila Brungs said at a reception marking the occasion, “and we look forward to hundreds more in the years to come.”
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore sent a message welcoming the milestone. “This scholarship offers an excellent opportunity for students from China and Australia to form friendships, establish strong networks and create lasting ties that benefit us all,” she said. “With the majority of Australia’s 500,000 international student intake over the past decade studying in Sydney, programs like this help cement our city’s position as a world-class education destination.”
You have a superb opportunity to help shape the future of our country and even the world
Dr Chau Chak Wing
Dr Chau, an Australian Chinese businessman who is Chairman of Kingold Group, made a generous gift of $25 million to UTS in 2010. Of this, $20 million went towards the construction of the Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, home of the university’s Business School. The remaining $5 million established an endowment fund to support the Dr Chau Chak Wing Scholarships in perpetuity.
Dr Chau told the gathering of Scholars the Australian education system had helped his children realise their full potential, “so I am happy to be part of the group of supporters of Australian universities”.
Education empowered individuals to “think, question and see beyond the obvious”, he told the reception. “You have a superb opportunity to help shape the future of our country and even the world.”
The Dr Chau scholarships offer UTS students education opportunities in China, while also giving students at UTS's Key Technology Partner universities in China the opportunity to study in Australia.
Past recipient Thomas Da Jose, a Bachelor of Engineering graduate now employed by global infrastructure firm AECOM, says his scholarship-funded study in Guangzhou gave him intercultural skills that made him better able to collaborate with others to solve complex challenges.
“My colleagues are supportive of my professional pathway to use my learnings from the program to help create better and responsible infrastructure across the Asia-Pacific,” he says.
The program had also inspired him to start his own social business in renewable energies, Masy Solar.
Joshua Lasky, an Associate Director at AECOM, says its goal is to be the world’s premier, fully integrated infrastructure firm and, as such, to be part of building a better world, with that vision extending to the vibrant Asia-Pacific region.
“Thomas’s participation in this UTS program has not only provided him a valuable insight into Chinese business culture and management, it has also further exposed him to the opportunities presented by the rapid advance of digital technology and reinforced the importance of building strong interpersonal relationships across cultures and geographies,” he says.
Our team ... thrives on big ideas borne from diverse experiences, and Thomas’s experience in China with UTS enables him to accelerate his development
Joshua Lasky, AECOM
“Our team of nearly 90,000 people in 150 countries thrives on big ideas borne from diverse experiences, and Thomas’s experience in China with UTS enables him to accelerate his development with AECOM and better deliver for our clients.”
Zhiyao Jiang started her studies in China, then with the help of a Dr Chau Chak Wing Scholarship came to UTS to complete a Master of Information Technology degree. Today she is a testing engineer on a graduate program with financial services technology company IRESS Australia.
“I never thought I would study abroad. I was able to study for longer. I even have this job because of this opportunity,” she says.
“Without the scholarship I couldn’t have supported myself and funded my study here. With its support, I was able to do activities, like volunteering, that helped me build not only my technical skills but my ‘soft skills’ and my language skills.”
“The Dr Chau Chak Wing Scholarship program was made possible by an extraordinary act of generosity by Dr Chau Chak Wing,” UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor, International and Advancement, William Purcell says.
“It has had a significant impact on the lives of 100 young people from China and Australia, forging connections and increasing cross-cultural understanding that will have long-lasting positive benefits for these future leaders and for both nations.”