December 6, 2013

George Mason University News: Students Represent Mason at Conference to Strengthen U.S.-China Relations

By Catherine Probst

Several George Mason University students attended the Nov. 21 inaugural conference of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which aims to strengthen relationships with China. They were joined by hundreds of students, educators and professionals from across the United States for the meeting held in Washington, D.C.

Launched in 2012 in accordance with the U.S. State Department’s “100,000 Strong Initiative,” the foundation seeks to facilitate exchanges between students from China and the United States. The goal is to bridge differences, strengthen mutual understanding and establish connections that will build deeper cooperation between the two countries.

Representing George Mason at the conference were history and global affairs major Zi Yang; theater major Janey Robideau; and government and international politics major Davis Todhunter.

“I believe the 100,000 Strong Foundation will serve as a solid pillar for the house of Sino-American friendship,” says Yang. “I am certain that the tranquil, cheerful and evergreen nature of Sino-American relations will reach an even higher standing as the young people of China and the United States develop greater appreciation for each other on an intimate and personal level.”

The daylong conference included high-profile speakers such as Norman Francis, president of Xavier University, and Mona Lee Locke, the wife of U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke. The pair led a discussion on topics ranging from how to improve Chinese exchange students’ adaptability to American culture to the broad career opportunities available to American students with overseas experiences in China.

The conference was further highlighted by keynote speaker Liu Yandong, vice premier of China. Yandong spoke about the significance of student exchanges between China and the United States and noted the future advantages of friendship building initiatives championed by the 100,000 Strong Foundation.

According to the students, they had the opportunity to engage in lively and intellectually spirited conversations and met representatives from Marietta College, the University of Maryland and American University.

“I believe that attending this conference was a smart way to show the world what Mason is all about,” says Yang. “More importantly, our attendance demonstrates that Mason takes international education exchanges seriously.”

 For photos and more information please visit the George Mason University news website.