On January 19, 2011, in connection with the State Visit of President Hu Jintao of China, the First Lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks at Howard University, before an enthusiastic group of high school and college students, focusing on the importance of young Americans learning about and engaging people around the world. She said that studying abroad is not only part of a “well-rounded educational experience,” but “increasingly important for success in the modern global economy.”
She also discussed the “100,000 Strong” Initiative, a new national effort designed to dramatically increase the number and diversity of Americans studying in China. The “100,000 Strong” Initiative was announced by President Obama in 2009, during his visit to China, with the goal of preparing a new generation of American experts who will be able to manage the growing political, economic, and cultural ties between our two countries. This ambitious initiative, which will rely primarily on private funding, will be managed by the US Department of State.
What made Mrs. Obama’s remarks so relevant to our own work in DC was her acknowledgement that for some students studying abroad seems financially unrealistic, out of reach, and simply intimidating. She spoke about her own experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago, where the focus was “on getting in, getting through, and getting out (of college).” The “100,000 Strong” Initiative will help create new opportunities specifically for these students traditionally underrepresented in study abroad programs – in urban public schools and community colleges, for example.
Here’s the 13-minute video of Michelle Obama’s speech.
And here’s video of the full 53-minute program, including the student panel with our very own Lyric Carter.
Because of CGEL’s work with the US State Department to develop plans for the involvement of DC public school students in the “100,000 Strong” Initiative, January 19th turned out to be a thrilling day for us and for the DC (APSA) China Scholars with whom we have worked over the last several years.
This was a wonderful day for everyone involved. If you’re interested in learning more about DC’s plans for participation in the “100,000 Strong” Initiative, e-mail email@example.com.