FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Project Pengyou Trains Next-Generation Americans to be US-China Bridge-builders
Golden Bridges Foundation conducts second Leadership Training Summit at Harvard University, sets up campus chapters across the country to promote China exchange
CAMBRIDGE, MA, Oct. 20, 2014 – On Columbus Day weekend, a group of forty high school and college-aged Americans who studied in China convened at Harvard University to participate in a US-China Leadership Training Summit organized by the Golden Bridges Foundation.
The training was part of Golden Bridges’ Project Pengyou Leadership Fellows Program. Project Pengyou (“Pengyou” means friend in Mandarin Chinese) works to empower and mobilize next generation US-China bridge-builders through leadership training, high-level events and a social networking site. The program was conceived as the alumni network of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, a presidential campaign that sent 100,000 Americans to study in China.
Holly Chang, the founder of Project Pengyou stated, “The US-China relationship is complex, difficult and multi-faceted. We believe a prosperous future for America relies on the active engagement and leadership capacity of young Americans with firsthand China experience.”
Project Pengyou Leadership Fellows spent four days of active learning in Cambridge covering the topics of leadership, community organizing and U.S.-China cross-cultural challenges. This is the second Leadership Fellows Training Summit building on the success of the first summit held in March 2013. To date, Project Pengyou has trained over 80 young Americans, selected from nearly 500 program applicants from all over the country including under-represented states with few China engagement opportunities.
Following the training, Leadership Fellows were immediately tasked to apply their skills to lead campus chapters across the United States to strengthen China study and engagement. As part of this, fellows will organize activities that promote study abroad in China and build bridges between American and Chinese people. They will also provide opportunities for local chapter members to develop leadership skills and participate in “pay it forward” projects in their community. Project Pengyou Chapters across the country are preparing a massive day of action on “Pengyou Day”, November 20, 2014, to celebrate US-China friendship across the United States.
Henry Tang, co-founder of the Committee of 100 and a Trustee of the Golden Bridges Foundation spoke on a panel alongside three other Committee of 100 members to address the fellows. “I salute you”, Tang said, “As a result of your involvement in this, you are pioneers and serving as ambassadors for US-China relations”.
Despite China’s importance as America’s fastest growing trade partner, few Americans study Mandarin or travel to China. In 2013, just one in 1,000 college students in the United States studied abroad in China. There are currently over twelve times more Chinese who study in America than there are Americans studying in China, resulting in a major imbalance in knowledge and understanding.
In 2011, the Golden Bridges Foundation was invited by the U.S. Department of State to strengthen US-China relations by building a global alumni network of Americans who had lived or studied in China. The program was later launched as “Project Pengyou” to connect and train active global leaders who can harness the extraordinary growth of China and lead us towards a more functional, mutually beneficial and peaceful future for the United States and China.
Speakers at Project Pengyou Leadership Training Summit:
Holly Chang, Founder of Golden Bridges Foundation and Project Pengyou, Acting Executive Director of Committee of 100
Claire Conceison, Visiting Professor of Theater Studies at Harvard University
Clarence Kwan, Committee of 100 chairman, Senior Partner at Sino-Century Partners
Henry Tang, Committee of 100 governor and co-founder, Managing Partner of Carnegie
Mei-Mei Tuan, Committee of 100 member, Founder and Managing Partner of Notch Partners
Jeremy Wu, Committee of 100 D.C. Region Co-Chair, Former Senior Advisor to U.S. Census Bureau
Schools and Nonprofits represented by Project Pengyou Leadership Fellows Fall 2014:
- Americans Promoting Study Abroad, Washington, D.C.
- Asia Society, New York, NY
- Burlington County College, Pemberton, NJ
- Carver Early College High School, Atlanta, GA
- College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
- Duke University, Durham, NC
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ
- Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
- Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA
- Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR
- Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ
- New York University, New York, NY
- Pomona College, Claremont, CA
- Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY
- SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo, NY
- Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
- Teach For China, New York, NY
- Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX
- The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Knoxville, TN
- University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
- Univeristy of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
- Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
- University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
- University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS
- University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
- University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
- University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
- University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI