Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong stand with students participating in the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.
The second annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE), held April 11- 12, provided a great opportunity to highlight recent progress under the 100,000 Strong Initiative. We were able to announce more than $3 million in new private sector pledges in support of the Initiative, including a major grant from Laureate International Universities to send 1,000 students from its U.S. campuses to China. We also highlighted a major expansion of one particular program - Teach for China - which sends young American college graduates to China to teach in underserved schools. Below is a fact sheet which describes these and other exciting developments.
To kick off the CPE's closing session, Secretary Clinton introduced a video featuring three American and three Chinese alumni of U.S. government exchange programs talking about their study abroad experiences and the personal effect it has had on their lives.
Check out the video and other CPE links below!
- U.S.-China Cooperation on 100,000 Strong Fact Sheet
- CPE Student Exchange Video
- Secretary Clinton's Closing Remarks at the CPE
Carola McGiffert is Director of the 100,000 Strong Initiative and senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific.
APR 2011: Secretary Clinton Remarks at the US-China Consultation for People-to-People Exchange
APR 2011: U.S.-China CPE Cooperation on 100,000 Strong
FEB 2011: Secretary Clinton HBCU Foreign Policy Briefing Remarks
JAN 2011: ABC News Coverage of Michelle Obama Howard Event
JAN 2011: CNN Coverage of Michelle Obama Howard Event
JAN 2011: Washington Post Article on Michelle Obama Howard Event
DEC 2010: Wall Street Journal Article
NOV 2010: Chinese Press Coverage of McGiffert Visit
NOV 2010: Chinese Press Coverage
OCT 2010: Secretary Clinton Honolulu Remarks
MAY 2010: Secretary Clinton Remarks at Signing Ceremony
NOV 2009: President Obama Announcement
Citing the strategic importance of the U.S.-China relationship, in November 2009, President Barack Obama announced his goal of seeing 100,000 Americans study in China over four years. This represents a significant increase over current numbers and signals a major investment in the future of U.S.-China relations. In addition, a central objective of the Initiative is to expand access to study abroad programs in China to underrepresented groups, including students from high schools, community colleges and minority-serving institutions. The Initiative was officially launched in May 2010 by Secretary Hillary Clinton and is strongly supported by the Chinese government. In January 2011, on the occasion of the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington, the two nations reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing people-to-people engagement through educational exchanges. of McGiffert Visit
TEACH FOR CHINA
Established in 2008, Teach For China, formerly the China Education Initiative, is inspired by the vision that one day, all Chinese children will have access to a quality education. Teach For China takes a unique approach to eliminating educational inequity by enlisting the U.S. and China’s most promising future leaders in the effort. In partnership with the global network Teach For All (http://www.teachforall.org/), Teach For China recruits, selects, trains, and supports outstanding U.S. and Chinese graduates to work side-by-side to deliver an excellent education in high poverty, rural Chinese communities. Teach For China is the first and only organization to partner young leaders from the United States and China in an extended service initiative.
In the short term, Teach For China’s Fellows are placed in full-time, two-year teaching commitments at under-resourced schools, where they meet the pressing need for exceptional educators. During their terms of service, U.S. and Chinese Fellows are provided with a highly meaningful platform for protracted and intense collaboration, as they work side-by-side to improve their students’ educational prospects.
In the long-term, Teach For China lays the groundwork for U.S.-Sino collaboration as its American and Chinese alumni – equipped with the experience, conviction, and insight that comes from together leading children to fulfill their potential – grow into lifelong leaders positioned to transcend national boundaries and advance the cause of educational equity.
Since its implementation, Teach For China has garnered the support and recognition of thought leaders in the Western and Chinese academic, business, non-profit, and government spheres, and is financially supported by a diverse range of stakeholders including government, corporations, foundations, and high net worth individuals. Major supporters of Teach For China’s efforts include Goldman Sachs, Swire Group, Guangzhou R&F Properties, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Yunnan government partners. Goldman Sachs has pledged its support to Teach For China in the name of 100,000 Strong.
As part of 100,000 Strong, a generous contribution by Goldman Sachs will help Teach For China (TFC), formerly the China Education Initiative, place 500 outstanding American college graduates as English teachers in some of China’s neediest school communities over the next three years.
For more information on Teach For China, please visit http://www.tfchina.org/.
Harvard University 2009, Teach For China Fellow 2009
I wasn’t prepared to come to China. I hadn’t studied Mandarin, or taken classes on Chinese history or culture. Years ago, my grandfather had handed me a copy of the classic of Chinese literature Dream of the Red Chamber, but I had never quite gotten around to reading it. Despite my ignorance, when I first heard about Teach For China, I found its mission of ending Chinese educational inequity incredibly compelling. Working with children so profoundly lacking in educational opportunities while also getting to know the diverse cultures of China’s southwestern frontier was exactly the kind of job I wanted after I graduated college: difficult, exciting, and imbued with a deep sense of purpose.
My move to China didn’t disappoint. I fell in love with all of it: the Chinese language, the green mountains and devastatingly spicy food of Yunnan Province, and not least, the people I lived and worked with. My students were hard-working and enthusiastic, despite the enormous obstacles they faced in life. The work was challenging -- class sizes were huge, resources were scant -- but luckily I was never alone. I consider myself deeply privileged to be part of a movement where American and Chinese peers work side-by-side. The passion and social consciousness of my Chinese colleagues and friends has fundamentally shaped my experience of China, and I could not imagine the person I would be today without it.
I came to China unprepared, but what I have realized is how little it ultimately mattered. China is vast, fascinating, and challenging. You will never know all there is to know about it. But if you approach a move here with openness and humility, you will find a country full of dynamic, welcoming people who won’t mind in the least that you haven’t read Dream of the Red Chamber.
Middlebury College 2010, Teach For China Fellow 2010
I am a 2010 Middlebury alumna enjoying her first year as a Teach For China (TFC) Fellow in rural Yunnan. After spending a semester studying in Hangzhou, I knew that I wanted to go back to China as soon as I got the chance. I decided to join TFC because I liked the idea of working with Chinese and American graduates who share the same passion for China and the same drive to help shrink the educational gap between the cities and the countryside.
Part of my excitement about joining TFC and returning to China was that I knew I would be teaching English to rural Chinese students. Having spent many years studying both Spanish and Chinese, I knew the opportunities that multilingualism can bring. I wanted to offer students the same opportunities I was offered by studying Chinese.
With a semester under my belt, I can safely say that this experience teaching in rural China has been a life-shaping one. Working simultaneously with over 40 seventh-graders, dozens of local teachers, and this year’s cohort of Chinese Fellows has given me countless windows into Chinese culture and worldview. Just this past weekend, my American coworker and I hiked for over three hours to visit a student’s village and talk with her parents. An experience like this simply can’t be replicated in the United States.
After this past semester, I now have a much deeper understanding of how students and parents view their education and the struggles we’re up against. The challenges we face are huge, but talking with my students, learning about their lives and experiences, and watching them improve their English every day gives me the energy and motivation to keep pressing forward on our path to educational equality.
Middlebury College 2010, Teach For China Fellow 2010
My journey to the East began my freshman year at Middlebury College when I chose to study Chinese on a whim. After falling in love with the language, I began to realize that Chinese culture, history, and economic development fascinate me to no end. I spent a great deal of my time in college researching development in China and the advancement of women in Asian society. The importance of education and English language instruction as a means of closing the rural-urban divide that exists in many developing countries is a prominent and recurring issue in this research. For me, it wasn’t enough to understand the problems in the system that result in such drastic inequalities, I wanted to make my own contribution to their resolution. Teach For China (TFC) has been the perfect opportunity for me to do so.
Living in rural Yunnan for the past 9 months I have learned a great deal about local customs and traditions. I’ve learned (and am still learning) how to communicate in the local dialect. I’ve also gained a keen understanding of the Chinese education system, which has further informed my knowledge of Chinese culture. Yet, overall, my experience with TFC has made me realize just how much more there is to learn about Chinese culture and history. I’ve only just scratched the surface!
I highly encourage others to embark upon the adventure that awaits them in China. For whether you’re climbing the Great Wall on a tour around Beijing, studying abroad in Harbin, working by the Bund, or teaching for a program like TFC, there is always so much to learn and explore.