Secretary Clinton hails U.S.-China exchanges at launch of 100,000 Strong Foundation

Great progress has been made expanding U.S.-China exchanges since 2010, and “it is those people-to-people ties that are going to determine the quality of the [U.S.-China] relationship for the future,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday at the launch of the 100,000 Strong Foundation.

As Clinton explained, the Foundation, “a perfect example of a public-private partnership,” is an independent nonprofit organization established to achieve the 100,000 Strong Initiative’s goal of sending 100,000 American students to China by 2014, and to continue strengthening student exchanges for the future.

Talking about the efforts undertaken by China and the U.S. in recent years to expand student exchanges between the two countries, particularly through the 100,000 Strong Initiative, Clinton said:

“We focused on student exchanges because we believe that the future is very clearly in the hands of the young people of both of our countries. And the more we can foster exchanges and understanding, mutual trust, the better off not only the relationship will be, but each of our countries individually. … There is nothing more important than trying to build a structure of exchanges between us when it comes to students and other young people.”

Clinton further recalled her pride in the American students working as hosts and greeters at the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, noting that “it was wonderful to watch the interchange” between Chinese visitors to the pavilion and these young Americans, many of whom “were first-generation college students in America who had just become taken with China … and now they were there as official representatives of the United States Government.”

“That’s what we want to see more of. We want to see Chinese youngsters here, American youngsters in China, and we want to see them breaking down the barriers that exist between any peoples from different cultures and experiences and histories and backgrounds.”