The New York City-based Ford Foundation has announced a $1 million grant in support of a public-private partnership designed to encourage more American college students to spend time in China as exchange students.
Announced in Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the State Department's 100,000 Strong initiative aims to boost the number of Americans studying in China to a hundred thousand by 2014 while increasing the diversity of the exchange student pool. To that end, the initiative is seeking support from corporations, foundations, universities, and other organizations interested in fostering greater understanding between the people of the U.S. and China. The program will not fund student exchanges directly but function instead as a national promoter and clearinghouse for efforts to expand programs between U.S. and Chinese universities.
According to the Institute of International Education, only 14,000 Americans studied in China during the 2009-10 academic year, compared with approximately 157,000 Chinese students in the U.S.
"Experience tells us that exchanges like these have the power to expand understanding and deepen international relationships," said Luis A. Ubi�as, president of the Ford Foundation, which has funded people-to-people exchanges with China for more than thirty years. "Our goal is to build the next generation's ability to work effectively with and in China. We look forward to working with a broad range of partners to help [cultivate] the next generation of leaders who will expand this important strategic relationship."