Undergraduates from all three degree-granting campuses chosen


New York University undergraduates from all three degree-granting campuses—New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai—have been selected as 2024-25 Schwarzman Scholars, an honor that will support master’s degree study in global affairs at Tsinghua University’s Schwarzman College in Beijing. 

Bincheng (Stéphane) Mao, a senior in Global Liberal Studies at NYU, as well as Valentin Josan, Sachintha (Sachi) Pilapitiya, and Addie Mae Villas, seniors at NYU Abu Dhabi, and Li Peirong, a senior at NYU Shanghai, were among the 150 scholars selected.

This year’s class of Schwarzman Scholars represent 43 countries and 114 universities from around the world. 

“The caliber of this incoming class and their potential fills me with optimism for the future,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, founding trustee of Schwarzman Scholars. “This year’s selected scholars are keenly interested in learning about China, which is now more important than ever in this complex geopolitical environment. They are ready to engage thoughtfully with global issues and eager to make a positive impact on the world.”

“I am sure that Schwarzman College will benefit tremendously from this new cohort of scholars, who will also enrich Tsinghua University’s intellectual and cultural environments in so many ways,” said Xue Lan, dean of Schwarzman College. “Their innovative spirit and leadership potential will provide new vitality and energy for the global community to respond to various challenges and promote peace and development.”

Bincheng (Stéphane) Mao, who will attend Harvard Law School after his stint as a Schwarzman Scholar, established the East Coast Coalition for Tolerance and Non-Discrimination (ECC), a charity that aims to combat anti-Asian discrimination, and has been inducted into the Davos World Economic Forum Global Shapers community and interned at the United Nations Development Program.

Valentin Josan, an economics major and public policy minor, serves as the chief of staff in NYU Abu Dhabi’s Student Government. Josan, who has interned at the Brunswick Group, co-founded both the first set of licensed TEDx conferences on education and nationwide Model United Nations conferences in his home country of Moldova. 

Sachintha (Sachi) Pilapitiya, an economics major and political science and mathematics minor, is a founding member of Default LK, an organization creating civic economic awareness in Sri Lanka, his home country. He has also pursued his interest in policymaking through research at the Institute for Policy Studies in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. 

Addie Mae Villas, a political science major, with minors in legal studies and Arabic, has served as president of the Debate Union at NYU Abu Dhabi and co-founded the UAE’s first-ever Conference on Debate and Public Speaking for Women and Girls. As a volunteer with Safe Passage 4 Ukraine, Villas has helped resettle over 800 Ukrainian refugees fleeing war.

Li Peirong, who served as both NYU Shanghai’s student body vice president and president, dedicated himself to cultivating connections between Chinese and international students. Throughout his college career, he’s worked with TEDxNYUShanghai as well as NYU Shanghai’s Office of Admissions, its Center for Career Development, and university communications to build a stronger and more connected university community.

A full list of 2024-25 Schwarzman Scholars is available on its website

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai and has 12 other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU is a leader in conducting research and providing education in the arts and sciences, engineering, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and professional studies, among other areas. 

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