PRESS RELEASE: Locke Bookends Tenure with Project Pengyou, Calls for More Americans to Study in China
Locke Bookends Tenure with Project Pengyou, Calls for More Americans to Study in China. Project Pengyou builds global community to strengthen US-China relations.
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Locke Bookends Tenure with Project Pengyou, Calls for More Americans to Study in China
Project Pengyou builds global community to strengthen US-China relations
Beijing, February 19, 2014 – U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke honored non-profit Project Pengyou as part of his farewell tour last week, calling for a new generation of stewards for the US-China relationship.
Locke gave one of his first speeches as Ambassador launching Project Pengyou, a program conceived as the alumni network of President Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative. Project Pengyou (“pengyou” means friend in Mandarin Chinese) connects young Americans who have lived or studied in China through leadership training, events and a social networking site.
“The entire world needs a strong US-China relationship,” Locke said at a reception hosted by Project Pengyou at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing last Wednesday. “But right now we have some 200,000 Chinese students studying in America, but maybe only about 18 to 20,000 Americans studying here in China. And to improve US-China relationships, we simply need more Americans studying here.”
At the event, Project Pengyou announced the launch of a Leadership Fellows Program, where select Americans who studied in China will convene at Harvard University to receive cross-cultural leadership and grassroots organizing training. Project Pengyou plans to mobilize Fellows to set up community chapters across the United States to promote China study and engagement.
In his final days as U.S. Ambassador to China, Locke spoke on the importance of Project Pengyou’s long-term efforts to build a community to foster people-to-people diplomacy and friendly relations between the United States and China. “Together all of you are helping to create an informed, mature and productive US-China relationship,” Locke said. “While I may hold the official title of Ambassador, quite frankly each and every one of you is an ambassador each and every day.”
About Project Pengyou Project Pengyou is a program of The Golden Bridges Foundation that seeks to empower and mobilize a new generation of US-China bridge-builders to serve, inspire and transform lives. In 2011, Golden Bridges was invited by the State Department to help strengthen US-China relations by building an alumni network for the 100,000 Strong Initiative, a presidential campaign to increase the number and diversity of American students in China. With funding from the Ford Foundation, Golden Bridges began to develop “Project Pengyou” as a public-private partnership and build a critical mass of young Americans who lived and studied in China and engage them in meaningful ways beyond the classroom. Project Pengyou currently connects alumni of over 250 exchange programs and provides training and resources to foster a global community of US-China bridge-builders and capture the return on investment for study abroad in China.