Jack Ma launches Aussie scholarship

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-15 07:45

Australia's University of Newcastle recently announced the setting up of a scholarship program supported by China's Jack Ma Foundation. The foundation will give $20 million to fund a first-of-its-kind scholarship program, marking the largest philanthropic commitment in UON's history and the Jack Ma Foundation's first philanthropic contribution in Australia.

Alibaba founder Ma was joined by New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, UON Chancellor Paul Jeans and others at the announcement in Newcastle.

As a teenager, Mamet Ken Morley and his family, who were on a tour with the Australia-China Friendship Society in Ma's hometown, Hangzhou. Ma and Morley remained close friends until Morley's death in 2004.

"I am very thankful for Australia and the time I spent there in my youth," Ma says. "The culture, the landscape and most importantly its people had a profound positive impact on my view of the world at that time."

He says the foundation was delighted to honor the experience and the special relationship he had formed with the Morley family. "Alibaba was built by young people and we are committed to lifting up and empowering students so they can reach their dreams and ambitions."

In its initial year, The Ma& Morley Scholarship Program will support 30 new UON scholarships, 20 scholarships to support students throughout the duration of their degree, including access to a unique and comprehensive engagement and enrichment program, and 10 one-off scholarships to support educational exchange, internship or immersion activities.

When the program reaches full capacity, it will support 90 students per year.

The university's vice-chancellor, professor Caroline McMillen, said the scholarship program would have a transformational impact on the lives of students and shape the next generation of leaders.

Morley's son David, who still lives in Newcastle and attended the announcement event, said the family was really happy to see that Ma remember his Newcastle connection and to be honoring their dad's egalitarian values through the scholarships.

"This scholarship program will exemplify the shared values between Mr Ma and Mr Morley, and aims to develop the next generation of globally aware and socially conscious Australian leaders," McMillen says.

The first round of the program will be advertised in mid-2017 for students who would commence their first year of an undergraduate degree at UON in 2018.

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