On Thursday, November 21, 2013, The 100,000 Strong Foundation convened its inaugural conference at American University’s School of International Service. Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, who was in Washington to participate in the 4th Annual US-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE), delivered keynote remarks. Madame Liu discussed the importance of student exchange and the need for increased cultural understanding between the two nations.

Nearly 400 US and Chinese officials, business leaders, academics and students participated in the day-long discussion about the importance of the US-China strategic relationship and the role of study abroad in strengthening bilateral ties. Assistant Secretary of State Danny Russel, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Mrs. Mona Locke, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, and American University President Neil Kerwin were among the participants. The conference provided an opportunity to announce the 100,000 Strong Student Ambassadors Program.

The conference generated extensive news coverage, including articles in Asian Week, China Daily USA, and Inside Higher Ed, as well as on the American University webpage. Read a message from President Barack Obama mentioning 100,000 Strong here and read Secretary Kerry’s remarks citing 100,000 Strong here.

The conference included the following panels:

Building a Globally-Fluent Workforce

  • James Goldgeier, Dean, School of International Service, American University (chair)
  • Norman Francis, President, Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Pin Ni, President, Wanxiang North America

Student Testimonials

  • Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation (chair)
  • Chinese and American Students

US-China Strategic Relations & People-to-People Ties

  • Mona Locke (chair)
  • Reta Jo Lewis, former Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, State Department
  • Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State
  • Stephen Schwarzman, CEO, Blackstone Group