Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong co-chaired the fourth annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in Washington on Nov. 21. The CPE aims to enhance and strengthen ties between the citizens of the United States and the People’s Republic of China in the areas of culture, education, science and technology, sports, and women’s issues.
Culture: Since the re-establishment of bilateral relations in 1979, cultural exchanges have played an important role in people-to-people engagement between the United States and China. At today’s meeting, the culture working group decided to continue its outreach efforts to young audiences through the performing and visual arts and to continue cooperation between cultural institutions, representatives, and scholars:
• U.S. Government Initiatives: The U.S. Department of State will continue its commitment to building mutual understanding by hosting exchanges through the American Film Showcase, American Music Abroad, and Arts Envoy programs. Additionally, the Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Culture, will feature China in the 2014 Folklife Festival.
• U.S. Private Sector Cooperation: U.S. organizations and companies are strong partners in cultural diplomacy efforts. Partners bringing Chinese culture to the United States include Goldman Sachs, which hosted China’s Chinese National Orchestra in September, and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which will present the “Take Me There®: China” series in 2014 that will teach American youth about China’s rich cultural heritage. Inter-cultural professional networks are flourishing through the American Alliance of Museums and the Terra Foundation for American Art. New York University’s Global Asian-Pacific-American Institute is fostering a network of scholars studying Asian diaspora art globally through in-person and virtual collaboration.
• Ministry of Culture of China: The Ministry of Culture supports cultural programs, including cultural dialogue, performing and visual art exchange, and collaboration on art production between the two countries. The Ministry of Culture and the National Endowment for the Humanities of the United States have begun discussions for the Fourth U.S.-China. Cultural Forum, which is to be held in the United States. The Ministry of Culture will continue to sponsor art groups from China to participate in festivals and other events in the United States that will increase the recognition of Chinese culture by the American people, especially among young people. Other Chinese institutions continue to collaborate with U.S. arts organizations, including the Palace Museum of China and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; National Theatre Company of China and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and the Suzhou Kun Opera Theatre and the Lincoln Center Festival.
• Cultural Cooperation Agreement: On November 22, 2013, in New York, Chinese and U.S. organizations, including several representatives of the 2013 CPE, will sign five cultural cooperation agreements.
• Youth Leadership Program: Extensive exchange and training programs between U.S. and Chinese young political leaders, student leaders, young professionals, and young entrepreneurs with the themes of civic education, leadership development, social innovation, and community service will be carried out throughout the year of 2014.
Education: The robust educational relationship between the United States and China is helping to build a stronger foundation for our overall bilateral relationship. The country sending the greatest number of international students to the United States is China, and the United States provides the second largest group of international students to China. Cooperation between our educational institutions continues to expand, including between Chinese vocational colleges and U.S. community colleges.
• Exchanges: Three highlights in education are the bi-national Fulbright program, the “100,000 Strong” initiative of the U.S. Government, and the three “10,000” programs initiated by the Chinese Government, all demonstrating a commitment to two-way student exchange. Private efforts such as the Schwarzman Scholars program were applauded.
• Education Joint Work Plan: The U.S. Department of Education and the Chinese Ministry of Education renewed their Memorandum of Cooperation on Education and agreed to continue promoting state/province cooperation and the exchange of best practices.
• U.S.-China Friendship Volunteers: The Peace Corps and the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the U.S.-China Friendship Volunteers and agreed to continue to explore opportunities to increase placements of volunteers in underserved areas.
Science and Technology: Collaboration in science and technology is an important and dynamic area in the bilateral relationship, dating back to the 1979 U.S.-China Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement. The United States and China are using a variety of tools to enhance public dialogue on science between the two societies, educate the public on the role of science in society, and explore issues of interest to young scientists.
• Young Scientist Forum: The second Young Scientist Forum (YSF) was held in Beijing on August 3, 2012, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology and U.S. Embassy Beijing, in partnership with the National Science Foundation’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes program. The third Young Scientist Forum was held in Washington, DC on October 18, 2012, and included a program in which ten Chinese young science professionals engaged American counterparts in Washington, DC; Phoenix, AZ; and San Francisco, CA. These forums serve not only to build mutual understanding but also to foster career development of young scientists. Over the past two years, nearly 200 young scientists from the United States and China have participated in the YSF program through the CPE. The United States and China also agreed to focus the next YSF on advancing women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Sports: More than 40 years ago, “ping pong diplomacy” paved the way for the re-establishment of relations between the United States and China. From large international competitions like the Olympics to State Department-supported exchange programs in Guangzhou and Chengdu, to China’s Wushu delegation’s visits to New York and Washington in 2011, to the NBA pre-season games played in Beijing and Shanghai in October 2013, sports receive high-level attention in both nations.
The consultations between the U.S. Department of State and the General Administration of Sport of China (GASC) featured a broad cross-section of leaders from throughout the sports world – spanning Olympic federations, sports organizations for disabled persons, and industry.
• Access to Sport: Aligning with this year’s theme of youth and innovation, the sports pillar focused on access to sport for youth and persons with disabilities. Both sides decided to focus on promoting health and fitness through innovative access to sport programming.
• Disability Sports: In May, for the first time, the State Department sent athletes with disabilities on a Sports Envoy program. During this year’s CPE, the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) and its U.S. counterparts agreed to facilitate future exchanges and visits among the Chinese Paralympic Committee, the U.S. Paralympic Committee, and the USA Deaf Sports Federation, as well as between Special Olympics China and Special Olympics USA.
• Continued Cooperation: The participants also discussed the creation of an annual knowledge-sharing forum to be known as the U.S.-China Sports Seminar, which will convene the GASC, the U.S. Government, and partners from academia and industry to promote information-sharing on various sports-related issues.
Women’s Issues: Launched in 2011, the U.S.-China Women’s Leadership Exchange and Dialogue (“Women LEAD”), led by the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) and the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), brings together women leaders of both countries to discuss and tackle issues of mutual concern. This year, the two delegations focused their discussions on the topic of “Women and STEM.” They agreed to the following activities:
• Women LEAD: In 2014, the ACWF will host Ambassador Russell and her delegation for the Sixth Women LEAD meeting, which will focus on the topic of “Addressing and Preventing Violence against Women.”
• Young Women Leadership Training: From 2013 to 2015, China Women’s University (CWU), with support from the Ford Foundation, will cooperate with the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project in China on two training workshops for emerging women leaders throughout China.
• Wanxiang America Corporation and the 100,000 Strong Foundation, with assistance from the ACWF and S/GWI, will bring together female science and technology students from both countries for a “Girls’ Tech Camp” in China.
• Women’s Health: S/GWI, ACWF, and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves will partner to develop an initiative focused on awareness raising and capacity building to promote clean and efficient cook stoves with a view to improving health and livelihoods of women and their families and combating climate change.