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10th Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China opens in Hangzhou before G20

By Jiang Jie (People's Daily Online)    15:12, August 05, 2016

(Students at the opening ceremony of the HSYLC 2016 Hangzhou. Photo/Courtesy of HSYLC)

The 10th Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China (HSYLC) is currently taking place in Hangzhou for the first time before the G20 summit in September. A total of 505 high school students began this year’s program in Hangzhou by being sorted into different houses in ceremony modeled after Harvard University’s 12-house system.

Ye Cuiwei, president of Hangzhou No. 2 High School, which is hosting this year’s Hangzhou summit, spoke at the opening ceremony. Ye said that the school has renovated its campus in preparation for the program, and is delighted to join the High School Affiliated with Renmin University and Shanghai High School as regular hosts for future iterations of the summit. The high school sees HSYLC as an opportunity for local students to experience elite international education and broaden their horizons, Ye was quoted as saying on the Hangzhou government's website.

Interested students were required to submit applications on the summit's official website. The selecton procedure, too, is similar to undergraduate student admission at Harvard University. Those who are admitted but cannot afford to attend may also apply for scholarships, according to the website.

While Wang Yi, director of the Harvard Shanghai Center, emphasizes that participating in HSYLC does not guarantee future admission to Harvard, many students nevertheless view the program not only as a way of experiencing Western-style education, but also as a strong item to have on their applications for overseas universities. Over the past decade, the summit has enrolled over 12,000 students from more than 700 high schools. Many of them were later admitted to prestigious universities including Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge.

(Photo/HSYLC website)

Charles Wang has participated in the HSYLC program for three years, beginning in 2013 when he was studying at St. Paul’s Co-educational College. He attended for the first time because he was planning to apply for overseas universities, and he believed the summit was a good chance to learn from seminar leaders.

Wang, now a teaching assistant at the summit, told People’s Daily Online that many fellow students participate in international exchange programs, but HSYLC stands out because, “It allows you to get to know real Harvard students within nine days through competitions and other activities.”

As a second-year student of Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University, Wang said it was HSYLC that first brought him into contact with politics and philosophy. He further explained that the summit provides students with a wide variety of seminars--everything from physics to the globalization of soccer--that domestic high schools seldom offer.

“We try to promote general education, wherein high school students get exposure to different courses. That way they can decide what they truly like and what they want to pursue at university. I think HSYLC is a great program and it helped me find my true passion after exposing me to a lot of different possibilities,” Wang said.

As a first-time seminar leader, Sundar Solai said he would introduce a seminar focused on law, and would engage students in the format of a mock trial.

“My goal is to expose them to the Western legal system and foster a cultural exchange that helps us develop a better picture of the similarities and differences among courts around the world … I think this also reflects how students at Harvard are able to explore various interests that span a broad range of fields,” explained Solai, a sophomore at Harvard, to People’s Daily Online.

Solai calls himself a “passionate teacher,” which is one of the main reasons he was attracted to HSYLC.

“I was also very intrigued by the opportunity of visiting China. Touring a country is great, but interacting at a deeper level with the people is perhaps even more enriching for both parties,” he said, adding that he had heard great things about the program from past organizers, Harvard seminar leaders and former summit students who are now his peers at the university.

(Photo/HSYLC website)

HSYLC is the flagship program of the Harvard College Association for US-China Relations. The program first came to China in 2006, when the inaugural Chinese summit was held in Shanghai. It is now Harvard's largest-scale program in Asia. A number of celebrities have participated in HSYLC as guest speakers, such as Jack Ma, Lee Kai-fu and Yao Ming.

This year’s HSYLC kicked off on Aug. 2 in Hangzhou and will continue until Aug. 10. The nine-day program at Shanghai High School will begin on Aug. 13. In Beijing, the program will be held from Aug. 14 to 22 at the High School Affiliated with Renmin University of China.

According to HSYLC, more high schools in China may be invited to host the program in the future. Host schools are selected based on the overall quality of the school and demonstrated interest. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Jiang Jie,Bianji)

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