The last three months have been extraordinary for the Initiative. Highlights include the February visit of Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to a Los Angeles-area high school to celebrate U.S.-China people-to-people ties, as well as December's Booey Lehoo concert organized by Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA), featuring will.i.am and apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas as well as John Legend, Coco Lee, Shunza, and Sa Dingding.
In the run-up to both vice presidents' visit to Los Angeles, 100,000 Strong supporters announced several new funding opportunities for underserved LA-area high school students to study in China. See below for details.
December's all-star Booey Lehoo concert was preceded by a week of stellar events celebrating U.S.-China educational ties that included a basketball tournament; collaborative art, theater, jazz and blues performances; the launch of Project Pengyou; a video message for 100,000 Strong taped by Former President Jimmy Carter during his December visit to Beijing; an inaugural taping of U.S.-China Focus (hosted by Mona Locke, the wife of U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke) which highlighted the Initiative and Booey Lehoo events; a reception hosted by Ambassador Locke; all of which were followed by a community outreach event entitled "Education for All" for which will.i.am was the featured speaker. We are very grateful to Motorola Mobility for its generous support as the flagship sponsor of the Booey Lehoo Concert and Arts Week.
In other news, the Caterpillar Foundation has distributed the first quarter of its $1 million contribution to 100,000 Strong through grants of $84,000 to Virginia State University, $75,000 to Eureka College, and $91,500 to Western Illinois University.
Looking ahead toward the next six months, we are preparing for an event to highlight the release of an upcoming documentary on the Initiative, the next round of Consultations on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing, and our next Federal Advisory Committee meeting.
Wishing you a prosperous Year of the Dragon!
- Carola McGiffert
Carola McGiffert is Director of the 100,000 Strong Initiative and Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
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Don't forget to visit http://www.projectpengyou.com/ to connect with young Americans who have studied in China! & Check out http://www.zinch.com/studyinchina/ -- a free online database for American students to find study abroad opportunities in China.
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.
On February 17, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited the International Studies Learning Center (ISLC), a public middle and high school in South Gate, California, within the Los Angeles Unified School District. ISLC, whose student body is 99 percent Hispanic, is a member of the Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network. The two vice presidents met with ISLC students who are studying Mandarin, and Chinese students on an exchange program at ISLC, and encouraged them to strengthen further our two countries’ people-to-people ties.
In conjunction with this visit, the U.S. Department of State announced new private sector pledges and events in support of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, which seeks to increase the number and diversify the composition of Americans studying in China.
|Launch of Project Pengyou: December 10 marked the official launch of Project Pengyou inside Beijing's Temple Theater. The event featured a keynote address from U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke. Project Pengyou is a non-profit working in partnership with 100,000 Strong to form a global community of Americans who have lived and studied in China. Project Pengyou's mission is to cultivate a dynamic generation of stewards for US-China relations, and thus strengthen our collective capacity to build a more peaceful and functional shared future. Find out more about Project Pengyou here: www.projectpengyou.com.|
|Launch of U.S.-China Focus: Mona Locke, the wife of Ambassador Gary Locke, launched the inaugural taping of U.S.-China Focus, her web-based talk show that will focus on issues of importance to the U.S.-China relationship. The inaugural show focused on the 100,000 Strong Initiative and Booey Lehoo events. The show can be viewed here: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzMyOTk3OTcy.html|
100K Strong Video by Former President Jimmy Carter: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter happened to be in Beijing during the week of Booey Lehoo. We were excited that he agreed to tape an important message on behalf of the Initiative which can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ML5hcz10K4&feature=youtu.be
|Booey Lehoo Basketball Tournament: The official slate of Booey Lehoo events kicked off with the "16 X 16 Tipoff Basketball Tournament" featuring All-Star forward Jamal Mashburn as host. Eight Boston (USA), 8 high school student/athletes and 16 Chinese high school student/athletes from Beijing joined together to form 8 "Friendship Teams" to compete for the "Jackie Chan Cup", a trophy donated by the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation Beijing (JCCF).|
Booey Lehoo Arts Week: The week featured a number of dance, classical music, literary, and theater activities as well as a special evening of blues and jazz straight from the Windy City, Chicago, IL.
||Reception Hosted by Ambassador Locke: Ambassador Locke was kind enough to hosts the Booey Lehoo artists and donors of the 100,000 Strong Initiative at a reception at his residence that featured performances by Chinese and American artists, including Yale University alum, Kevin Olusula, a noted cellist and self-described "cello-boxer" who combines classical cello music with beat-boxing. Kevin, who studied abroad during his tenure at Yale and speaks fluent Mandarin, is a prime example of the extraordinary talent exuded by alumni of the 100,000 Strong Initiative.|
|Booey Lehoo Concert: The capstone event for Booey Lehoo featured a star-studded cast of American and Chinese pop, R&B, and traditional music artists - will.i.am, apl.de.ap, John Legend, Shunza, Coco Lee and Sa Dingding. The night ended on a high note with students from Americans Promoting Study Abroad who flew back to Beijing to participate in the week's events taking the stage alongside the artists as well as students from migrant families who attend the Dandelion School in China.|
"Education for All" Community Outreach Event with will.i.am: Jessica Beineke, founder of the popular web-blog, OMG Meiyu, emceed a wonderful event to round out the week, featuring will.i.am and U.S. Embassy Beijing's Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Wang, as well as dance, music, and martial arts performances by Chinese students from the Special Education College of Beijing Union University. will.i.am shared with students the story of his personal passion for music and the arts led him to his current career and the importance of their being global citizens and cultural ambassadors for their countries.
|The Caterpillar Foundation has selected three universities to receive funding for China exchanges as part of the first tranche of its $1 million pledge to the 100,000 Strong Initiative. The foundation recently awarded a grant of $84,000 to Virginia State University that provides scholarships for students participating in study abroad programs in China. The first group of VSU students will participate in the University Studies Abroad Consortium Chinese Studies and International Business program in Shanghai, China. Caterpillar has also made grants to Eureka College for $75,000 and Western Illinois University for $91,500.|