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Stewart Johnson: A voice from young generation

08-30-2013 10:29 BJT Special Report: Chinese Dream |

Stewart Johnson’s understanding of Asia started at an early age. Even though he was born just north of London, he moved to Singapore with his family when he was only seven years old. But even as a child he knew that whatever career he would eventually pursue, he wanted to be in Asia.

Stewart started learning Chinese while in high school. After high school graduation Stewart attended the University of London, majoring in law and Asian and African studies. To gain a better understanding of the real China, he came to Beijing as an exchange student in his sophomore year. Staying in siheyuan, or traditional Chinese courtyard home in Beijing, he got a chance to immerse himself in China’s cultural heart. It was then and there that he fell in love with China.

But whether Stewart would connect his future to China was still unclear – he was uncertain how long he would spend in China and what relationships he would make. Then, something unexpected happened – he got an opportunity to participate in the Chinese Bridge Competition, a Chinese language proficiency competition for foreign college students from around the world.

During the competition, Stewart spent several months travelling around China while meeting other international students who shared his passion for Chinese culture. Making it into the finals in the 9th annual competition, he eventually prevailed to become the champion. Stewart met Chinese vice premier (and future premier) Li Keqiang following his win and gained recognition as an unofficial British student ambassador to China.

Stewart’s victory also earned him a scholarship from the Confucius Institute to study economics and management at Tsinghua University, where he went on Qi Te, a Peking University student who would eventually become his business partner. At that time, Qi and his friends were setting up the Alpha Partners group, which organizes extracurricular activities for Chinese students. After a conversation with Qi, Stewart saw a viable career starting point. He joined Qi’s team as program director, taking charge of educational cooperation between Britain and China.

Stewart said he is thrilled to be a part of the diverse group of young entrepreneurs at Alpha Partners, all of which he said are pursuing their own China dreams. Although he doesn’t know exactly what the future will bring, he said that he hopes China will always be a part of that, whether he is on the ground in China or communicating his experiences to others.

Editor:James |Source:

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