100,000 Strong program to continue beyond 2014

Updated: 2014-05-29 21:07

By Zhao Xinying (chinadaily.com.cn)

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The 100,000 Strong initiative, originally launched to increase the number of US students studying in China to 100,000 over a four-year period from 2010 to 2014, will continue beyond 2014 and become a long-term program, according to Travis Tanner, vice-chairman of the 100,000 Strong Initiative Foundation.

“The whole point of establishing the initiative is that it will go beyond 2014. I think 100,000 Strong will become a symbolic of effort to increase the number of American students studying in China,” Tanner said in an interview in Beijing on Thursday.

“You can see in our materials that the figure 100 is printed in infinity sign and that’s the symbolic as we want to make sure that not just 100,000 students, but many many more students beyond that is the goal.”

The 100,000 Strong Initiative Foundation, a non-profit independent organization based in Washington, was established to strengthen the US-China relationship by sending US students to study in China.

Tanner said the foundation has raised $15 million and the Chinese government has responded very enthusiastically and offered 20,000 scholarships to support US students.

He also said they were very encouraged to see that the number of American students studying in China is increasing.

Official statistics released in November show that 68,000 US students have come to China to study since the initiative was launched in 2010.

“Unofficially, we believe we are very close to the original point (of 100,000 students),” Tanner said.

“It (the initiative) not only increases the number but also the diversity of US students to study in China, to learn Mandarin Chinese, which I believe is a critical investment in the US-China relationship.”

Tanner said they believe the initiative will continue after Obama’s presidency ends. He said the initiative won support from both Democratic and Republican officials, and he believes they will continue to cooperate with the government in the future.