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Our Story

Planting the Seed

The Qi Social Innovation Center was cofounded by Jack Hsu and Elizabeth Walker Sobhani. As a successful entrepreneur in the US, Jack Hsu returned to China in 2003 and launched the Ivy Education group focusing on bilingual Kindergartens across 4 cities. Ivy merged with Daystar Academy in Beijing in 2014 expanding into K-12 education. Jack was nominated to attend Aspen’s China Leadership Program with fellow CEOs from around China in 2017. Inspired by the workshops and content, and reflecting on his own education at an innovative school in Singapore, Jack created his Aspen pledge: to educate students with entrepreneurial skills combined with a passion to do good in the world – to be social innovators! His pledge was to reach 1 million students around the world. This was the seed that started the Qi Social Innovation Center.

China Aspen Fellowship 2017

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Crossing Paths

Elizabeth Walker Sobhani found her niche in social impact consulting, advising companies, nonprofits and schools in North America, Australia and China. As fellow Board members of Daystar Academy (bilingual K-12 school within the Ivy Education Group), Jack and Elizabeth started exploring how the Daystar high school could be truly unique. Through much research and various Board workshops the path became clear: Daystar would pilot and test a program to develop social innovators aligned with Jack’s Aspen pledge. As the goal was to cultivate a generation of youth social innovators, all the development and IP would belong to a separate nonprofit – the Qi Social Innovation Center.

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Social Innovation Program Development

In 2021 a team of external consultants from Wildbound and a cross-section of experienced leaders and staff at Daystar Academy and Ivy Education Group worked together to conduct global research on innovative schools around the world that were developing future skills.



Based on the research findings, the team co-created the social innovation competency model and piloted various social innovation program components and educator trainings from 2021-2023 at Daystar Academy. Student and teacher feedback was collated through this process, revealing many successes and important learnings highlighted in the Daystar Social Innovation Progress Report.

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After 2 years of implementation, the team felt ready to share key programs with other schools and youth around China. This was public launch of the Qi Social Innovation Center engaging with youth around Beijing and China through Venture for Change which was hosted in April 2023 at the Columbia Global Centers | Beijing. Fellowship for Change was announced in the fall of 2023 with the signing of an MOU with the Columbia Global Centers to jointly launch this unique fellowship program. Projects for Change will be piloting in select school globally in 2024 after the 3-year pilot is complete at Daystar Academy.

Venture for Change 2023

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