BEIJING (April 10, 2013) – California Gov. Jerry Brown, at a ceremony in Beijing with US Ambassador to China Gary Locke and various California business executives, announced the creation of a new program to send California community college students to study in China beginning in 2014.
Exchange Furthers 100,000 Strong Foundation’s Mission
At its outset, the program, which is made possible through a $250,000 gift from the Florence Fang Family Foundation, will send dozens of students from the San Mateo Community College District to China. The study abroad program is expected to build in the coming years and expand to other community colleges throughout California. The Florence Fang grant was made in support of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched earlier this year to diversify and dramatically expand the number of US students learning Mandarin and studying in China.
“The best way for students to learn about China is to go to China,” Gov. Brown said. “Through this program, students will forge great friendships in one of the world’s most creative and dynamic countries.”
Carola McGiffert, president of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, said of the community college program: “This pilot program with San Mateo is so critical to the mission of the 100,000 Strong Foundation. Approximately 43 percent of American undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges, but community college students represent less than 3 percent of those who study abroad. We must ensure that this important part of our future workforce is prepared to engage constructively with China, our fastest growing trade partner.”
Gov. Brown’s announcement comes as part of his weeklong visit to China to promote Chinese investment in California, particularly in the areas of clean energy, electric vehicles and 21st century infrastructure. In addition to meeting with several high-level Chinese officials, the governor will attend the opening of a California trade office in Shanghai. Also on the trip are Bay Area business leaders and economic development officials.
California in particular has an increasingly important relationship with China. In 2012, California exported roughly $14 billion in goods and services to China within high-skill, high-wage and high-value-added sectors such as computers and electronic products. An October 2012 report by the Asia Society found that China invested $1.3 billion in California in the last decade.
“China and the United States have many shared challenges and together we can confront them. But we need our young people to get to know and understand each other; we need our young people to connect and collaborate,” said Florence Fang, Founder of the Florence Fang Family Foundation and a founding supporter of the 100,000 Strong Foundation. “With 12 times more Chinese studying in the United States than Americans studying in China, we must do more to encourage American youth to go to China and to learn Mandarin. Through our students, we can build the bridges that will bring the world’s largest developed country and the largest developing country closer together.”
The 100,000 Strong Foundation’s mission is to expand and diversify the number of Americans studying Mandarin and studying abroad in China. Our goal is to bridge the gap between cultures, strengthen the US-China economic and strategic relationship, and enhance global stability.