Yale students and alumni will study in China as Schwarzman Scholars

Two Yale seniors and two alumni are among the 151 individuals from around the world who have been selected for the graduate study award.
Mathis Bitton, Putt Punyagupta, Jonas Kavaliauskas, and Namra Zufiqar

Mathis Bitton ’23, Putt Punyagupta ’23, Jonas Kavaliauskas ’21, and Namra Zufiqar ’21

Two Yale seniors and two alumni are among the 151 individuals from around the world who have been selected as 2023 Schwarzman Scholars for graduate study in China.

Seniors Mathis Bitton and Putt Punyagupta and alumni Jonas Kavaliauskas ’21 and Namra Zufiqar ’21 were chosen from 3,000 applicants for the prestigious fellowships, which fund one year of study in pursuit of a master’s degree in global affairs at Schwarzman College on the campus of Tsinghua University in Beijing. The Schwarzman Scholars, who come from 36 countries and 121 universities, are chosen for their commitment to understanding and fostering cross-cultural ties with China. They will complete their studies during the 2023–2024 academic year.

I am excited by the eighth cohort’s potential,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman ’69, the co-founder, chair, and CEO of the investment management company Blackstone and founding trustee of Schwarzman Scholars. “As the geopolitical landscape grows more complex each day, I am inspired by this year’s selected scholars and their readiness to engage thoughtfully with global issues and drive change. We are confident that this inspiring cohort of young leaders will make the most of this unique opportunity.”

Brief profiles of the Schwarzman Scholars from Yale follow.

Mathis Bitton ’23 is in the B.A./M.A. program in political science and is interested in Confucian thought and its impact on Chinese statesmanship. More broadly, he is interested in liberalism and its critics, industrial policy, democratic theory, and models of elite education. He served as president of the Yale Political Union and is a co-founder of an algorithmic governance start-up. As a Schwarzman Scholar, he looks forward to learning more about contemporary Chinese thought and its influence on the country’s grand strategy.

Putt Punyagupta ’23 is majoring in history and South Asian studies, and is interested in the legal, religious, and linguistic pluralisms of South Asia. A two-time U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholar, he is proficient in Chinese, Hindi, Lao, Persian, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Tamil, Thai, and Urdu, and is learning Bengali, Russian, and Malayalam. He has worked for Yale’s Program in Iranian Studies, is a writing partner at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, and is active in the Yale Russian Chorus. Outside of Yale, he has conducted research for the Stimson Center, a U.S. nonprofit that aims to enhance international peace and security through analysis and outreach; taken part in symposia at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies; and supported heritage conservation. He hopes to learn more about historical and contemporary exchanges between China and South Asia. He is from the United States and Thailand.

Jonas Kavaliauskas majored in economics and computer science at Yale and is the founder and CEO of Atlas Academy, a European education consulting company. He also serves as an analyst at ME Investments, where he helps cover venture capital and public equities. He is also a graduate of United World College Dilijan. He aspires to combine his passion for investing, entrepreneurship, and education to benefit the global community. He is from Lithuania.

Namra Zulfiqar studied political science and global human rights crises at Yale, where her senior thesis was on international responses to the Jammu and Kashmir crisis, (a conflict between India and Pakistan and India and China over the two disputed regions), building on research she began at Yale’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic. Her undergraduate research also included the study of cases arguing against the arbitrary detention of human rights defenders in the Middle East, and research on barriers to financial inclusion in Tunisia. After graduation, she began working at the international development company DAI to support Emergency Response Operations during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. She currently works at DAI supporting a portfolio of international sustainable development projects. She aspires to work at the intersection of diplomacy and development to create a better world for all.

With the incoming cohort, the Schwarzman Scholars network expands to more than 1,000 members from 88 countries and 390 institutions worldwide.

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