Brice Turner, a Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow and graduate student at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) spoke at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Center in the Spring on May 8, headlining an event he hosted emphasizing the importance of people-to-people exchange in U.S.-China relations.
Brice spoke to an audience featuring 100K Strong Foundation Student Ambassadors, China’s Rising Leaders Delegation from the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), Political and Security Affairs Program Staff from NBR and SAIS students. He explained to the audience why Project Pengyou was focused on building a thriving network of China alumni:
“This [chapter building] effort is important because as of today, there are twelve times as many Chinese students who study in America than there are Americans studying in China. This ratio will only change if those that have recognized the significance of people-to-people exchange choose to act.”
Using skills he learned from our leadership training summit, Brice picked two personal stories to share with the crowd—the time he had to communicate with the Afghan chief of police when he was in the Marines, and his experience teaching English at the Beijing School for the Blind. In both situations he learned firsthand that effective cross-cultural communication could accomplish great things.
After his speech, the group engaged in an open discussion over lunch about the perceptions of students before and after studying in China and the lessons gleaned from their experiences abroad.
Brice is President of the Careers in Diplomacy Club at SAIS. As part of his work as a Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow, he has worked to establish a scholarship fund that will allow one need-based student to study abroad at the Hopkins Nanjing Center for the summer of 2015. He says he realized it is a “small step,” but small steps are commitments leading to action, and action leads to change.
Are you interested in becoming a Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow? We’re currently accepting applications until September 5!