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First There Was Model UN

Our co-founders Ethan, Berlin and Te met through Model United Nations and the rest is history.

 

In 2005, Ethan and Berlin represented their schools in Beijing and Shanghai at China’s first ever high school Model UN conference at Peking University (PKUNMUN). A year later, they were both admitted to Peking University (the ‘Harvard of China’) and got Ethan’s roommate Te hooked as well. Between them, they soon oversaw the two largest high school and college conferences in Asia. In efforts to grow PKUNMUN, they also started developing curriculum and resources for high school teachers to establish Model UN clubs at their schools.

 

From competing to organizing and then teaching Model UN, Ethan, Berlin and Te could clearly see its potential to help Chinese students build unique soft skills and global understanding otherwise not possible in the traditional Chinese classroom setting. It’s no wonder they made Model UN the cornerstone of our company when Alpha Partners Education was founded in March 2012.

Meet Bruce Wu From Chengdu

In April 2012, we held our first info session at Chengdu Tanghu Foreign Languages School in southwest China. The presentation introduced Model UN to their students for the first time, emphasized the importance of ‘learning by doing’ and was followed by a Q&A session. The first student to raise his hand was a 13-year old boy called Bruce Wu and he floored us with his reference to John Dewey in asking how experiential learning could be applied in Chinese schools.

 

Bruce was one of 130 students selected from across China for our first Pegasus camp in Beijing that summer. He studied economics with Andrew Panton, a Cambridge graduate working in international development, and also excelled in drama and visual arts. With new friends all over China, he was determined to continue expanding his horizons beyond Chengdu and applied for a government scholarship to attend high school in Singapore. After four formative years in Singapore, he enrolled at the London School of Economics, where he spent his freshman summer back at Pegasus – this time as a teacher.


Bruce may have been our first student, but he was followed by thousands more, many of whom have returned as teachers, interns, and even full-time employees joining us on our mission to empower more students to become proactive global citizens.

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Tomorrow's Leaders Become Friends Today

While Ethan, Berlin and Te were busy growing PKUMUN, our other co-founder Stewart was learning Mandarin in London. After winning the prestigious Chinese Bridge (汉语桥) competition in front of over 100 million Chinese TV viewers in 2010, he won a scholarship to Tsinghua University, where he met Te as a fellow delegate to the inaugural China-Britain Youth Dialogue in 2011.

 

Passionate about building bridges between China and the west, Stewart saw an opportunity to go beyond Model UN and help Chinese schools build meaningful partnerships and educational exchange with schools around the world. This was his motivation in co-founding Alpha Partners Education in 2012, and he helped bring our first groups of American students from Trinity School and Arlington High School to China in 2014. These were followed by a pilot two-way homestay exchange between Boston Latin School and Experimental High School Beijing in 2015, and our Alpha Exchange brand was born.

 

Five years and almost 100 exchanges later, many of our Alpha Exchange alumni have graduated college and remain in touch. Moved by stories of some partners ending up as college roommates and others still spending Thanksgiving and other holidays together, we we know that if we can help more of tomorrow's become friends today, the world will be a much more peaceful and prosperous place