31 December 2018
Wanxiang America Corporation, US-China Strong Foundation Supporter and Partner, shares this readout of their inaugural reunion party for alumni of their 100,000 Strong Programs:
Reunion of “100,000 Strong” Initiative Alumni in Chicago
On December 15, the Wanxiang America Corporation and the Chinese Consulate General held a reunion party for alumni of Wanxiang’s programs under “100,000 Strong” Initiative in Chicago. About 50 students representing the Chicago Public Schools, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University attended the event. Wanxiang has been a supporter of the “100,000 Strong” Initiative since 2011 by sponsoring US students from high schools/colleges in the Chicago area to study Chinese language/culture and clean energy sciences in China during the summer. Thus far, 1,300 students across 8 states in the United States have attended Wanxiang’s programs. This “Reunion” is the first ever party of its kind, organized to bring together alumni of Wanxiang’s programs. The program alumni shared their takeaways from the program and how these experiences impacted their lives.
Acting Consul General LIU Jun praised Wanxiang’s long-standing contributions to people to people exchange between China and the US. Daniel Li of Wanxiang America Corporation then shared the history of Wanxiang’s programs, and explained why Wanxiang supports the “100,000 Strong” Initiative. Mr. Li said, “A good US-China relationship benefits Chinese companies’ development in the US, so Chinese companies should work to develop a strong foundation for a healthy US-China relationship.” In closing his remarks, Mr. Li quoted George H. W. Bush’ words in the foreword to Bush’s China diaries, “I love the Chinese people. One of my dreams for our world is that these two powerful giants will continue working toward a full partnership and friendship that will bring peace and prosperity to people everywhere.”
Jane Lu, who is Coordinator of Chinese World Language Program in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) said, “CPS is the third largest school district in the country. Currently it offers 11 world languages. According to the data at the beginning of this school year, Chinese has become the second most studied world language in the school district. With Wanxiang’s financial support, our Chinese language students are able to go to China during summer time. It has been 7 years since 2012. In these 7 years, Wanxiang has spent about 1.5 million dollars and 153 CPS high school students have benefited from the program. It is the biggest full-scholarship study abroad program in CPS. Wanxiang’s support has not only greatly enhanced our students’ Chinese language proficiency and knowledge of Chinese history and culture, it has also strengthened their awareness of environmental protection and knowledge of clean energy. ”
Madeleine Low, who attended this program in 2012 when she was student at Northwestern University, also gave remarks. She said, “I would like to say thank you to Wanxiang for laying the groundwork for my class to be part of the work of advancing a new green economy with economic and environmental justice for everyone, whether you’re rich or poor, or live in the city or the country or on the coast. My experience in the Wanxiang Fellows Program not only gave me the skills to formulate and execute a research project, but also opened my eyes to the different ways Chinese culture views, justifies, and promotes sustainability, and gave me the tools to be the difference in my own small corner of the world. ”
Nil Oktem, who graduated from the University of Chicago in June 2015 and participated in Wanxiang’s program in 2013, also shared her reflections. She said “I applied for the Wanxiang Fellowship because, as an Environmental Studies and International Studies double major, I wanted to learn more about green technology and clean energy used to combat environmental degradation. Some of the highlights from the program for me are visiting Wanxiang’s facilities both here in Illinois and in Hangzhou. In both instances, we were provided with the opportunity to tour the facilities, talk with the Wanxiang staff about the products and receive an in-depth training about the step-by-step production process of the solar panels and the batteries used to fuel electric vehicles. Being on-site and learning directly from the professionals was truly an invaluable experience. “
Attendees also enjoyed performances and interactive activities, including a popular American song performed both in English and Chinese, dancing, as well as various culturally themed games.