On April 12, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong hailed the importance of people-to-people engagement during the second annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE). The CPE aims to enhance and strengthen ties between the citizens of the United States and China in the areas of sports, education, culture, science and technology, and women’s issues.
Forty years ago, “ping pong diplomacy” paved the way for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China. Since then, sports have continued to play an important role in bringing the people of our two countries together, with several major programs highlighted during this year’s CPE:
Basketball: In cooperation with the National Basketball Association, the Department of State’s SportsUnited Office brought Chinese basketball coaches and physical education teachers to the U.S. in February 2011 for the first-ever basketball Sports Visitor Program with China, which focused on teaching and motivating young athletes. Georgetown University’s men’s basketball team will travel to Shanghai and Beijing in summer 2011 to play exhibition games, attend cultural events, and participate in community service activities.
Soccer: Twelve Shanghai Football Association coaches traveled to the United States in June 2010 on a SportsUnited training program focused on developing and managing youth soccer teams and on coaching techniques for young players. In July 2011, Virginia Commonwealth University will send U.S. soccer experts to Shanghai, where they will run coaching and management clinics.
Disability Inclusive Sports: Under a SportsUnited grant to Mobility International USA, sports professionals from Guangzhou, China, will travel to Eugene, Oregon in 2011 for a program on disability inclusive sports.
Olympics: The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) signed a bilateral agreement on cooperation with the Chinese Olympic Committee in 2010. In 2011, a delegation from the Chinese General Administration of Sports will visit the USOC Olympic Training Centers to share best practices on sports venues. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of “ping pong diplomacy,” the U.S. and Chinese Olympic Committees will exchange delegations of their Table Tennis Associations this year.