Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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Vice Premier Liu Yandong Headlines the inaugural 100K Strong Annual Conference

Last week was a momentous one for the 100,000 Strong Foundation.
 
On Thursday, Nov. 21, we convened the inaugural 100,000 Strong Foundation annual conference at American University’s School of International Service, and I am proud to say it was a great success.
 
The highlight of the day was a keynote address by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, who was in Washington to participate in the 4th Annual US-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) along with Secretary of State John Kerry. Vice Premier Liu discussed the importance of student exchange and the need for increased cultural understanding between our young people, a goal shared by the 100,000 Strong Foundation.
 
In all, nearly 400 US and Chinese officials, business leaders, academics and students participated in our day-long discussion about the importance of the US-China strategic relationship and the role of study abroad in strengthening our two countries’ ties. In addition to Vice Premier Liu, we were honored to have Assistant Secretary of State Danny Russel, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Mrs. Mona Locke, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, American University President Neil Kerwin and many other luminaries attend.
 
The conference also provided an opportunity to announce the 100,000 Strong Student Ambassador Program. Each year, the Foundation will select 100 American students to serve as ambassadors on the grassroots level. These are students who represent the diversity of America, have studied in China, and posess a deep understanding of Chinese culture and history.
 
In a particularly memorable portion of Thursday’s conference, a few of our new 100,000 Strong student ambassadors spoke alongside some of their Chinese counterparts about their personal study abroad experiences and how it has affected their lives and career paths. These students are our best spokespersons and give us great hope for the future of the US-China relationship.
 
I hope you will take a moment to review some of the news coverage of our event in [Fiona Ma's column in] Asian Week, China Daily USA and Inside Higher Ed.
 
You can also read a message from President Barack Obama mentioning 100,000 Strong here and read Secretary Kerry’s remarks citing 100,000 Strong here.
 
I am so proud of what we have accomplished together this year. Thanks, as always, for your continued support!
 
Carola
 
Carola McGiffert
President, 100,000 Strong Foundation