News / USA

    100,000 Strong Initiative Gets Boost from Chicago Ties to China

    US students learning Chinese
    US students learning Chinese

    Multimedia

    The Advisory Committee of President Barack Obama's 100,000 Strong Initiative, which encourages Americans to study in China, is led by former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel and departing Chicago Mayor. Richard Daley, who's been mayor for 22 years, led Chicago in engaging China and promoting cross-cultural programs.  His efforts earned the Windy City the distinction of being the "the most China-friendly city" when President Hu Jintao visited in January.  That distinction is helping Chicago support President Obama's goal.

    It may not sound like an American classroom, or look like a traditional American classroom, but these students from the Midwest state of Illinois are getting an education on the Far East.

    "For young students, it's a very smart investment to learn Chinese I think," noted Wen Ya Lu, one of several language instructors at Walter Payton College Preparatory School in Chicago.  Chinese language classes have been a regular part of the curriculum in the Chicago Public School system for more than a decade.

    "We believe we are one of the first, several schools, that started or promote Chinese language learning," Wen Ya Lu added.

    William Spence is co-chairman of the Chicago Sister Cities China Committee.  He says language classes are one way departing Mayor Richard Daley has engaged China, America's second largest trading partner.  

    "The mayor has initiated the largest public school Mandarin program in the United States.  There are 42 schools in Chicago that are teaching Mandarin to more than 12,000 students," said Spence.

    Chinese President Hu Jintao recognized those efforts in January.  During his state visit, he spent time in Chicago, and visited with students and faculty at Walter Payton.

    "That probably had more to do with raising the level of awareness of Chicago in China than any other single act," Spence added.

    The Shanghai Expo in 2010 also helped raise the level of awareness of America in China.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton directed the State Department to participate in the Expo by creating an American Pavilion.  She says learning Chinese paid off for the Americans who worked at the pavilion.

    "I think part of the reason we were the second-most visited pavilion was because the Chinese were just thrilled to come meet these young Americans who were speaking their language," Clinton noted.  "And they were asking all kinds of questions, and the young Americans were asking about their pronunciation, and it was just a fabulous moment. And we need more of that."

    Secretary Clinton asked Mayor Daley to co-chair the Advisory Committee to the 100,000 Strong Initiative.  The initiative is a goal set by President Barack Obama in 2009 to encourage 100,000 American students to study abroad in China.  The program's success depends on more institutions nationwide following Chicago's lead.

    "We understand that about 15 other American cities had picked up on the Chicago model for putting the Mandarin program in place in the public schools," Spence said.

    Even with those language programs, the U.S. State Department says there are 600 times more Chinese students studying English than Americans studying Mandarin.  The State Department also says ten times more Chinese students study in the United States than Americans in China.  The 100,000 Strong Initiative is intended to begin bridging that gap.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora