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Commencement 2024: 29 students from 13 nations earn master's degrees from Global Business Journalism program

Updated: Jul 8

The Global Business Journalism program is the top English language master's program in China. GBJ is a partnership between Tsinghua University, Bloomberg News and the International Center for Journalists.
The graduating class of 2024 poses for a photograph after the commencement celebration at the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication. (TSJC photo)

The message resonating from the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication on Commencement Day 2024 was clear: The new crew of master's degree recipients is prepared and eager to take on the challenges of the rapidly changing world of information and technology after the training they have received on the historic Beijing campus.


"Over the past two years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to absorbing as much knowledge as possible," valedictorian Nguyen Hà Linh of Vietnam said at the Global Business Journalism graduation celebration, "but the world we are about to step into after today may be very different from what we’ve prepared for. However, I firmly believe that the foundation we’ve built here at Tsinghua will enable us to shine brightly, no matter what path we choose."

The Global Business Journalism program is the top English language master's program in China. GBJ is a partnership between Tsinghua University, Bloomberg News and the International Center for Journalists.
Nguyen Hà Linh delivers her commencement address (GBJ photo by RIck Dunham)

Nguyen was one of 29 Global Business Journalism students who marked the successful completion of their master's degree studies on June 28 in a celebration ceremony at the recently renovated Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication building. The English language celebration honoring 15 Chinese students and 14 international students from 12 different countries in Asia, Europe and North America was held immediately the Chinese-language commencement ceremony of the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication at the university's Old Auditorium.


Journalism school Dean Zhou Qing'an told the GBJ students that they had learned "patience, resilience and integrity" during their time at Tsinghua, which started during China's COVID-19 lockdowns and difficulties in obtaining visas to enter the country. Their education came at a journalism school that earned A+ grades from one international rating service and was chosen as the top university in China for journalism and communication studies in another. Dean Zhou said the GBJ students' graduation comes with hopes for good jobs in countries of their choosing with the assistance of a "global network of GBJ alumni that are making significant impacts around the world."


The Global Business Journalism program is the top English language master's program in China. GBJ is a partnership between Tsinghua University, Bloomberg News and the International Center for Journalists.
The newest GBJ alumni celebrate after receiving their diplomas and certificates. (TSJC photo)

Co-Director Rick Dunham noted that the graduating class had made history with the best academic record for their thesis defense of any international cohort since the program was created in 2007. Despite challenges facing the journalism and communication fields, he predicted that the graduates were well prepared for success in the rapidly changing job market.


"The skills that are taught in the Global Business Journalism program are invaluable in future careers, whether they are in journalism or business, startups or government, entrepreneurial ventures or corporate cultures," he said. 'You have learned advanced storytelling tools and techniques. You have learned data research and analysis. You have learned multimedia storytelling and data visualization. You have learned new media and cross-cultural communication and teamwork and team-building. You are prepared to be international partners and global leaders."


The Global Business Journalism program is the top English language master's program in China. GBJ is a partnership between Tsinghua University, Bloomberg News and the International Center for Journalists.
Charmaine Magbuhos (center) and her husband Yibo (right) celebrate her graduation with his parents visiting from Qingdao. (WeChat photo)

Professor Dunham hailed "our final group of scholars whose studies were disrupted by the COVID pandemic." Nguyen, in her remarks, recalled the COVID-era remote GBJ orientation: "low-pixel videos on Zoom and Tencent meeting, each of us with a name underneath our little square."


"Those days now seem like distant memories," she added, "and that shows how fast time flies."


Nguyen, who completed her master's portfolio on global supply chain issues involving small and mid-sized enterprises from Vietnam, delivered a moving address stressing the importance of dreams.


"If you had told my 8-year-old self, who was crying and begging my mom not to send me to English class out of fear of the foreign language, that I’d one day be studying journalism in English at one of the best universities in the world, I would have laughed and looked at you terrifyingly," she said. "Yet, here I am today speaking at our graduation ceremony. It shows that anything and everything can happen if you dare to dream."


She lauded the diversity of the GBJ program and the depth and breadth of her Tsinghua education.


"I firmly believe that the foundation we’ve built here at Tsinghua will enable us to shine brightly, no matter what path we choose," she said. "We are capable of handling whatever life throws at us, just as we have dealt with the challenges and triumphs of our time here."


The Global Business Journalism program is the top English language master's program in China. GBJ is a partnership between Tsinghua University, Bloomberg News and the International Center for Journalists.
Graduates Michael Ma of the United States (left) and Stephanie Fallas of Costa Rica (right) share a happy moment with Professor Kuang Kai. (WeChat photo)

The top GBJ academic honors, along with Nguyen, went to Millie Lee from South Korea and Stephanie Fallas from Costa Rica. Fallas was selected for writing the best thesis of the year. Nguyen and Lee were honored for the top professional journalism portfolio. Lee wrote a deeply detailed three-part series about the difficulties of regulating the global cryptocurrency market.


Yidi Wang of New Zealand and Alicia Zeng of the United States won awards for Outstanding Service to the GBJ Program for their exceptional volunteer service to the GBJ office, website, social media platforms and faculty.


The Global Business Journalism program is the top English language master's program in China. GBJ is a partnership between Tsinghua University, Bloomberg News and the International Center for Journalists.
The entire graduating class of the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication poses for a group photo in front of the Old Auditorium. (TSJC photo)

Professor Jiang Qiaolei was selected as the top faculty supervisor of the year. She told the graduates that, "in a world full of uncertainties," the Tsinghua journalism school "will always welcome you back." She encouraged the celebrants to think of the university as "your sweet one home."


Bloomberg News staffer Lucille Liu, a 2012 GBJ graduate from Canada, returned to campus as the alumni speaker at the commencement celebration. She praised her professors in the GBJ program, including current faculty members Lee Miller, Hang Min and Fan Hong, and paid a special tribute to her supervisor, GBJ co-founder Li Xiguang. She talked about the "crucial steps" she had taken in her career journey, from Tsinghua to Caixin magazine to Bloomberg, but advised the new graduates to strive for a work-life balance. Your job, she noted, "is not the sum of who you are."


The Global Business Journalism program is the top English language master's program in China. GBJ is a partnership between Tsinghua University, Bloomberg News and the International Center for Journalists.
Justin Olsvik speaks at the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication commencement ceremony. (GBJ photo by Rick Dunham)

The GBJ ceremony followed the Chinese-language TSJC commencement, where Global Business Journalism representative Justin Olsvik of Canada delivered one of only two speeches in English. Olsvik was chosen on the basis of his outstanding journalism portfolio on environmental and societal complications created by the hunt for supplies for some Traditional Chinese Medicines.


"We have all come from different cultures, languages and political systems, some that might even sometimes be at odds with our new home here in China," Olsvik told the assembled master's and doctoral degree recipients. "And yet that you are all sitting here today is a testament to your open-mindedness, your curiosity, and your willingness to overcome preconceived notions.


"Our world is a complicated one," he added, 'but your motivations to honestly understand it from all sides in the hopes that you can make it a little bit better is something I think you should all be proud of."


Also speaking at the journalism school commencement was University of Southern California scholar Manuel Castells, the world's foremost expert on the digital society. Castells, the newest member of the Tsinghua journalism school's international advisory board, urged students to "stand up for the values you learned here."


"You have to have solid moral and ethical values to stand up to all the evil in this complex world," the Catalan native said.


The Global Business Journalism program is the top English language master's program in China. GBJ is a partnership between Tsinghua University, Bloomberg News and the International Center for Journalists.
Goodbye to Tsinghua ... for now. (WeChat photo)
 

>>> Complete coverage of Commencement 2024









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