Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Yenching Social Innovation Forum?

The Yenching Social Innovation Forum (YSIF) is a three-day event aimed at bringing together young innovators from around the world to brainstorm solutions to some of China's most pressing social issues. The forum will consist of a series of workshops and site visits hosted by individuals and organizations who are leaders in social innovation, and it will culminate in a competition where teams of participants present their solutions to specific issues in front of a panel of expert judges. 

What is this year's theme?

The 2016 theme is "Bridging China's Education Gap." The workshops, site visits, and activities of this year's forum will all revolve around improving the educational opportunities of marginalized children in China. 

When will the event be held?

This year, the Yenching Social Innovation Forum will take place November 24-26. Participants will arrive on the evening of November 23 and depart on November 27. 

Where will the event be held? 

The Yenching Social Innovation Forum is hosted by the Yenching Academy at Peking University in Beijing, China. A part of the three days will also be spent visiting schools and organizations around Beijing.

Why should I apply to the Yenching Social Innovation Forum?

The Yenching Social Innovation Forum will bring together an international group of young innovators who care about the same issue (this year that issue is the education gap). Participants will have the opportunity to do the following: 

  • Understand the nuances of the education gap in the context of 21st-century China
  • Share ideas, collaborate, and build networks with a group of internationally and professionally diverse peers
  • Attend workshops and receive feedback from leaders in the education, entrepreneurship, NGO, philanthropy, technology, and venture capital sectors in China
  • Pitch ideas to a panel of experts, with a chance to win long-term counseling and/or financial support for your social innovation project
  • Bring the knowledge, skills, and networks you acquired at the forum back to wherever you are based – China or elsewhere  and be better positioned to make a difference in your own community

On top of all this, we will provide you with round-trip transportation to Beijing, lodging, and meals for the duration of the event. 

Who is eligible to apply?

Those aged between 18 and 29 with at least moderate English proficiency, regardless of nationality or origin, are eligible to apply.  

When is the application deadline for the Yenching Social Innovation Forum?

The application deadline for this year's YSIF has passed. Acceptance letters will be sent out by mid-October, 2016.

I am not a Chinese national and have never been to China or studied Chinese. Do I need to have a background in China to apply?

It is not a requirement for applicants to have previously traveled to China or to have studied China-related majors. The Yenching Social Innovation Forum hopes to bring together bright minds from around the world who are experienced innovators in the social issue defined by that year's theme.

Can I apply with others as a group or organization?

This year we will only consider applications from individuals. 

If selected as a participant, what fees are covered by the Yenching Social Innovation Forum?

Transportation to and from Beijing, hotel accommodations, and meals will all be covered by the Yenching Academy at Peking University. Participants will have to bear visa expenses (if applicable) and other personal expenses.

What if I can only attend a part of the Yenching Social Innovation Forum? 

Due to the large volume of applications, only applicants who will be available during the entire event will be considered.

What will the competition part of the event be like?

Before their arrival in Beijing, YSIF participants will be divided into small teams and each team will be assigned a specific social issue related to that year's theme. During the hands-on workshops and site visits over the course of the event's first two days, team members will incorporate the new knowledge gained as well as their own background into devising an innovative solution to the issue. The event will culminate on the third day with a competition, where each team will give a pitch of its idea to a panel of experts and receive direct feedback.

Will there be awards for the winners of the competition?

This year, the top three teams will receive prizes in the form of long-term guidance from a leading innovator at the forefront of bridging China's education gap. While individual judges who take a particular liking to an idea might award funding or offer to invest, we cannot guarantee monetary awards.

If I still have questions whom should I contact?

Should you have any other questions, you can e-mail us at and we will get back to you as soon as possible.