(WASHINGTON) – In a historic move today, China’s highest-ranking education leader, Vice Premier Madam Liu Yandong, announced the award of 400 two-week scholarships over four years to students in districts of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), to study in China. The Chinese government also will provide 1,000 scholarships to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) for longer-term study in China, ranging from 3 months to 2 years, for undergraduate or postgraduate studies.
“We hope that our collaboration with the Congressional leaders and universities and colleges will go a long way towards people-to-people exchanges between the U.S. and China,” said Madame Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China. “I’m here to announce a decision by the Chinese government to award 400 scholarships for college and middle-school students to study in China,” she said on Capitol Hill today.
The scholarships are part of continuing efforts for increased U.S.-China educational exchange. Additionally, the relationship-building work by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation with the CBC and HBCUs are designed to more competitively position America’s diverse students in the 21st century global marketplace.
Today’s meeting was held at the U.S. Capitol, and attended by HBCU presidents from Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Morgan State University, and Tougaloo College, and Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, who led the first African American leadership delegation to China in 2010. The meeting was hosted by the CBC Chairwoman Cong. Marcia Fudge, who was joined by several CBC members, including: Cong. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Cong. Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Cong. Charles Rangel (NY-13), and Cong. Cedric Richmond (LA-2).
“We welcome Madame Liu Yandong to our nation’s Capitol, and are proud to be part of this historic event,” said CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge, Congresswoman (OH-11). “Through this generous award to CBC districts, and the continuing efforts of CUSEF, the National Urban League, and HBCUs, the CBC looks forward to providing 400 young scholars the opportunity to experience studying in China, one of the world’s leaders in global commerce, industry, culture and education,” Fudge said.
Earlier this year, a delegation of CBC members traveled to China and met with Vice Premier Liu, as did educators from eight HBCUs, as participants in the HBCU Leadership Visit to China delegation. Those universities were: Howard University, Hampton University, Spelman College, Morgan State University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tougaloo College, Bowie State University, and Delaware State University. The core mission was to explore opportunities for educational exchanges and collaborations for HBCU students and faculty with leading Chinese universities, and to explore the Chinese government’s Confucius Institute (CI) and Chinese Classroom programs for more HBCU campuses.
Of the more than 300 CIs worldwide and 80 CIs in the U.S., Xavier University of Louisiana became the first HBCU to receive Chinese government approval to establish a Confucius Institute. Xavier began offering classes in Chinese culture and language in January 2012. Howard University serves as the HBCU alliance’s lead coordinator.
“Howard is committed to providing a diverse and global education to its students,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, Howard University’s interim president. “Howard University, along with each of the other HBCUs, looks forward to the educational exchange opportunities with China and its world-class universities. As America’s population becomes more diverse, and people become more globally connected, our universities and colleges must offer educational experiences that enable their students to provide leadership and service in diverse and multi-cultural environments,” he said.
The HBCU delegation’s visit to China was organized in the US by Julia Wilson, as the appointed liaison representative for the China – United States Exchange Foundation. The Foundation’s African American Initiative focuses on people-to-people exchanges between American and Chinese leaders in education, media, business, and civic affairs. Mr. Alexander Tzang, special advisor for the Foundation, explained the Foundation’s purpose.
“Our goal at CUSEF is to foster a better understanding between Chinese and American peoples, through interaction and direct personal experiences,” Tzang said. “Organizing and sponsoring China study programs for American students is one of the activities we conduct for such a purpose,” he continued. “Through the recent China visit we organized for the presidents and leaders of the HBCUs, we hope they now have a better and more realistic understanding of China and its people. And, we hope they will share such knowledge with their faculty and students. We look forward to more HBCU visits in the future.”