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Thinking Big
Thinking Big
Entrepreneur Charles Chen Yidan changed the internet in Mainland China forever as a co-founder of Tencent—now he’s giving his money, energy and time to transforming education around the world
Rachel Duffell
My grandmother is the inspiration for my lifelong dedication to education philanthropy,” says Charles Chen Yidan, Tencent co-founder and creator of the Yidan Prize Foundation. Although she was unable to read or write, Charles’ grandmother’s strongly-held belief in the power of education saw her encourage Charles’ father to attend university and transform his life. This, in turn, had a profound effect on Charles, as did his grandmother’s trust in “the importance of kindness and of giving by setting an example.”

Charles studied applied chemistry at Shenzhen University as an undergraduate before earning a master’s in economic law in Nanjing. His association with institutions of higher learning would not end there. In 2009, Charles founded Wuhan College, a private university in China that focuses on “whole-person development”—it’s one of the many ways he’s helped address the need for an education system geared towards the future.

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December 2019