Clinton and Advisory Committee on the 100,000 Strong Initiative promote U.S.-China exchanges

In her remarks at the Opening Session of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed the importance of people-to-people engagement between the U.S. and China, a message she also brought across during the inaugural meeting of the U.S. Advisory Committee on the 100,000 Strong Initiative today, according to the Department of State’s website.

At the S&ED Opening Session, Clinton said:

“We are also working to build greater understanding and trust between our citizens and to foster stronger ties between our students, our businesses, and our communities, expanding on the consultations that were held here in Washington last month. That includes the 100,000 Strong program.”

The U.S. Advisory Committee on the 100,000 Strong Initiative, which is co-chaired by Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley and former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, was officially announced last month during the U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) and “serves a critical role advising on the promotion and implementation of the 100,000 Strong Initiative in the private sector.” It consists of experts on China and leaders from the business and non-profit sectors, as well as from academia.

According to the Department of State, more than $7 million has been pledged in support of the 100,000 Strong Initiative since January 2011 to go directly to schools and study abroad programs to further the goal of bringing 100,000 U.S. students to China by the year 2015.
During today’s inaugural meeting, the Advisory Committee announced several developments, including travel grants through the U.S.-China Education Trust (USCET), an expansion of Teach for China, as well as the designation of White House Fellows as 100,000 Strong ambassadors.


UPDATE: Secretary Clinton's remarks at the Advisory Committee's inaugural meeting on May 10 are now available on the Department of State's website.

Among other things, Clinton recalled her positive impressions of young Americans at the Shanghai Expo, "who just looked like the face of America, of every shade of color, every ethnic and other background, who had been studying Chinese. So they were our hosts, and I think part of the reason we were the second-most visited pavilion was because the Chinese were just thrilled to come meet these young Americans who were speaking their language. And they were asking all kinds of questions, and the young Americans were asking about their pronunciation, and it was just a fabulous moment. And we need more of that."

Clinton further thanked the Chinese Government for its commitment to offer 20,000 scholarships for U.S. students and educators for four years and reported that the $7 million the administration had planned to raise within the first year of the 100,000 Strong Initiative has already been passed in private pledges.