10 chosen for Eisenhower fellowships

Updated: 2015-06-23 11:23

By Dong Leshuo and Hua Shengdun in Washington(chinadaily.com.cn)

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10 chosen for Eisenhower fellowships

Vice-Premier Liu Yandong meets participants of the first Zhi-Xing China Eisenhower program in Washington on Monday. From left: Geroge de Lama, president of the Eisenhower Fellowships; Liu Yandong, vice premier of China; Amy Shaw, senior vice-president of community engagement at Nine Network of Public Media; James Froedge, vice-president of Acquisition Planning & Development at Emerson Electric Co; and Sandra Licon, senior program officer at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dong Leshuo / China Daily

Ten American mid-career leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors have been selected to participate in the first Zhi-Xing China Eisenhower Fellowships Program.

Zhi-Xing means "learning" and "practicing."

"One ancient Chinese philosopher Mr. Wang Yangming stresses the importance of combining learning and practicing," Vice Premier Liu Yandong said when she met the participants of the program on Monday. "He pointed out that to learn and to get knowledge is the start of the journey. To travel and to practice is the end of the learning process. The Zhi-Xing China program is consistent with just that philosophy.

Liu said "the two presidents (Xi and Obama) have reached the important agreement to work together to build a new model of major country relationship. "What we want to do is to break the historical premise that an emerging country and an established power will eventually end up in confrontation.

"What we want to do is to find a new pathway to a new model of relationship between win-win respect and win-win cooperation," she said.

Initiated by the China Association for International Education Exchange with the Eisenhower Fellowships and sponsored by the Perfect World Group, Zhi-Xing is a funded four-week professional and leadership development program that takes ascendant American leaders to China.

"In today's interconnected globalized world, we need to create greater understanding of one another's countries and cultures by meeting face to face and establishing meaningful contact," said George de Lama said, president of the Eisenhower Fellowships. "The Zhi-Xing program is an opportunity to do this."

The program, which will begin in October, features cultural immersion, group sessions with Chinese and US experts and two weeks of travel and meetings in four to six Chinese cities.

"We share common goals in that we want to better understand the Chinese culture, and build strong and lasting relationships that are built on mutual trust. In my fellowship I plan to meet with university, government, and business leaders, to explore areas of cross-border investment, including industries such as energy, communication, and e-commerce," said James Froedge, 2015 Zhi-Xing China Eisenhower Fellow and vice- president of Acquisition Planning & Development at Emerson Electric.

"On a personal level, I'm incredibly interested in learning from the Chinese education system, the impressive advances that have been made in recent years and the innovation that's happening across the country," said Sandra Licon, 2015 Zhi-Xing China Eisenhower Fellow and senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Zhi-Xing initiative was the result of the fifth round of US-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchanges (CPE) last year.

"The mechanism was initiated in 2010, and initially there were four cooperating areas," Liu said. "Now we have expanded cooperation areas into seven, including education, science and technology, culture, sport, healthcare, subnational ties, youth and women affairs."

"The opportunities to study in China have had a transformative effect on young Americans," said Carola McGiffert, president and CEO of the 100,000 Strong Foundation. "Every single American student who I've met who has the opportunity to study in China has come back extremely pleased that they have this experience," she said.

"I'm hoping that it's a platform that continues to grow," said Holly Chang, president of the Golden Bridges Foundation, acting executive director of the Committee of 100 and chief of Project Pengyou.

Jingyang Liu in Washington contributed to the story.