- Dec 9, 2019
Cynthia Liao, HBA ’14, once said her goal was to be a change-maker – and as a Schwarzman Scholar, she’s one step closer to reaching it. Liao is one of 145 young leaders to receive this distinguished scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in global affairs at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She’ll begin her studies in August 2020.
Through the program, the scholars explore the economic, political, and cultural factors that have contributed to China’s increasing importance as a global power. Recipients are described as risk-takers who strive to shape the change in the world.
Liao has long had an interest in solving global problems. In 2013, she was chosen for The Next 36, Canada’s most selective program for young entrepreneurs, due to her passion to use social entrepreneurship to find solutions to the world’s problems. The following year, she was part of a team tackling former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s health-care challenge at the fifth annual Hult Prize Competition in Dubai.
She is currently a Senior Associate on the Global Markets team at Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. Through her work, she partners with global donors, medical device companies, and governments across Asia and Africa to innovate, commercialize, and scale health-access solutions. These include pneumonia diagnostics, medical oxygen therapy, assistive technologies for people with disabilities, and solar energy electrification for off-grid, rural health centres.
Previously, she helped launch a $300-million distributed solar investment fund at General Electric.
Liao said she is excited to consolidate her passions and experiences to start her own company addressing challenges in health and energy access in developing countries. She said she will use her experience at Schwarzman College to better understand the economic and political influence of China's Belt and Road Initiative across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.