"Through the wonders of modern technology, our world has grown increasingly interconnected," First Lady Michelle Obama remarked recently at Howard University while promoting the value of exchange and President Barack Obama's One-Hundred-Thousand Strong initiative, a national effort to increase dramatically the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China.
"That’s why it is so important for more of our young people to live and study in each other’s countries," Mrs. Obama said. "That’s how, student by student, we develop that habit of cooperation, by immersing yourself in someone else’s culture, by sharing your stories and letting them share theirs, by taking the time to get past the stereotypes and misperceptions that too often divide us.
"[T]hese experiences . . . set the stage for young people all over the world to come together, and work together, to make our world stronger," Mrs. Obama continued, "[b]ecause . . . the defining challenges of our time are shared challenges. Neither of our countries can confront these alone. . . . [T]he . . . only way to solve these problems is by working together."
The First Lady highlighted the robust support the U.S. government provides for educational exchange, including through the Fulbright Program for Chinese and American students and scholars. She also announced a series of efforts to both encourage and help more young Americans to study in China. "Secretary [Hillary] Clinton . . . has just launched a 'Double the Numbers Challenge.' She’s asking college and university presidents to double the number of students who study in China," Mrs. Obama said.
To increase participation, a new Community College Mini-mester program will be launched by private partners, providing more short-term and affordable opportunities to study abroad. To reach more high school students in Washington, DC, weekend, after-school and summer school Mandarin language classes are also being encouraged.
"I am proud of what we’re doing here," Mrs. Obama concluded, "because I know . . . the impact an opportunity [to study abroad] can have on a young person’s life. I know the growth it can spur, the passion it can spark, the sense of direction and purpose it can provide."
Chinese students wanting more information about studying opportunities in the United States can visit:www.educationusa.info/china.