The Swire Chinese Language Foundation is a private initiative funded by John Swire and Sons. The initiative aims to improve the quality, quantity and reach of Chinese language teaching in the UK. Working with selected schools and universities across the country, the Foundation helps create centres of excellence for teaching school children of all ages and training of teachers.
The Foundation was set up to mark the 200th anniversary and 150 years of the Swire Group’s business in Greater China, where they now carry out most of their business. The Swire Group is based in London and has been in business for over two centuries and for more than half that time has supported education around the world.
John Swire and Sons has committed to funding the Foundation for ten years. So, we can take a long-term view and have time to ensure that our schools bring the subject into their core curriculum, make it a success with their pupils and no longer depend on our funding. Ultimately, we expect to become a catalyst for other schools to follow suit.
We work on the basis that the schools we select to work with are the best people to design and deliver local models for expanding the teaching of Chinese. We therefore limit ourselves to selecting, funding and observing those schools, leaving them with as flexible remit as possible. This also enables us to run the Foundation with a lean team.
Sam Swire is an Executive Director of John Swire and Sons Ltd in London. He is a Director of Swire Pacific, Cathay Pacific Airways, Swire Oilfield Services, and John Swire and Sons Australia. He has a degree in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He joined the Swire Group in Hong Kong in 2003 and has worked with the group in Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Sri Lanka, and London.
Jane Duckett is Edward Caird Chair of Politics, International Dean (East Asia), and Director of the Scottish Centre for China Research at the University of Glasgow. She is also Guest Professor at Nankai University (Tianjin, China). In 2012, she received the Lord Provost of Glasgow Education Award. In 2014 she was elected President of the British Association for Chinese Studies. In 2016 she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.
Jane has worked as a policy and social development consultant on several internationally-funded aid projects in China. Her research has been funded by the ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Council, British Academy, and the European Commission.
Christian is a Senior Partner with Carnstone Partners LLP, a boutique management consultancy working at the intersection of business strategy and sustainability, with offices in London and Shanghai. In this capacity, he works with major corporations and various UN bodies to respond to the major social, environmental and technological challenges redefining the rules of what it means to be a successful enterprise.
He is Chairman of the Responsible Media Forum and a longstanding pro bono consultant to the Connection at St Martin’s, London’s busiest homelessness centre.
Prior to joining Carnstone in 2008, Christian did his military service in the Royal Danish Navy and completed a doctorate at the Oxford Martin School as the first James Martin Scholar. His research focused on identifying the mechanisms by which corporations can stay in business for the long term.
In his spare time, he likes running, birdwatching and snow.
Teddy Watson spent over thirty years in the reinsurance industry, primarily in the City and New York, where he was a director and chairman of a number of international broking and underwriting businesses.
His current appointments include: Member of Council (governor) Radley College; Associate Fellow, University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School; Chairman of Sensonomic Ltd, the UK arm of a high-tech start-up. He recently retired as Chairman of British Exploring Society.
He has an amateur’s love of opera and history and dreams of the mountains.
Rebecca Foote has spent a number of years working in the Not For Profit industry. Holding business support roles within Marketing for UK institutions including The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the British Red Cross, as well as in Australia when representing the national dairy industry, she has been involved in the successful execution of marketing campaigns for over 10 years.
Relations between Britain and China are more important than ever, so this is an exciting time to engage with Chinese language and culture.
We hope to achieve our goals with the following ethos:
We believe that high standards of teaching will encourage greater participation and, when combined with high-quality modern technology, will make Mandarin easier to pick up and progress with.
We hope that by encouraging Chinese to become a core subject in school curricula it will remove barriers to learning and be viewed as a subject that can be taken on by students from all backgrounds and of all learning capabilities.
We hope that the foundation will be a vehicle for raising aspirations and opening opportunities in many deprived parts of our country.
The Swire Chinese Language Foundation is part of several Swire philanthropic initiatives. These include the Swire Charitable Trust, Swire Family Charitable Trusts and Swire Scholarships Programme.