Seattle joins major U.S. cities to lead Obama’s 100, 000 Strong Initiative

(From press release) Seattle is now a partner city in President Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative to diversify and dramatically increase the number of American students studying abroad in China, mayor says.

(From press release) Seattle is now a partner city in President Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative to diversify and dramatically increase the number of American students studying abroad in China, mayor says.

Mayor Mike McGinn, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools Dr. Susan Enfield, and U.S. Ambassador to China and former Washington State Governor Gary Locke made the announcement at an event called Strong organized by OneWorld Now! (OWN) on Nov 15, making Seattle one of other major U.S. cities selected by the U.S. State Department to lead this initiative because of its important role in U.S.-China relations.  

“It is an honor for Seattle to be asked to partner with the Obama Administration as one of the five U.S. cities in the ‘100,000 Strong’ Initiative,” McGinn said. “By offering an opportunity to study in China to students who would not otherwise have it or be able to afford it, the program gives more Seattle students a chance to compete in the global economy.”

Announced by President Obama in 2009, the 100,000 Strong Initiative seeks to develop opportunities for underrepresented students to study in China. By sending more American students abroad to China the State Department hopes to prepare the next generation of China experts ready to build the political, economic, and cultural ties between China and the U.S.    

“The U.S. China relationship is vital to the future of both our countries, and indeed to the world.  We have to work together to find solutions to the challenges of climate change, nuclear proliferation, clean energy, pandemic disease, natural disaster and so many other important transnational problems.” Locke said at the event via video.  

Recognizing the benefits of training American youth to speak Chinese and providing opportunities for them to study abroad in China, Locke said, “We can create a foundation of understanding that will allow us to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China.”   

“Seattle Public Schools has spent the past nine years working closely with OWN to teach underserved Seattle youth Chinese,” Enfield said.

Founded in Seattle in 2002 with a vision to develop global leaders through critical language classes, leadership training, and study abroad opportunities for underserved youth, OWN is an award winning local nonprofit and will be the lead organization in Seattle generating support and funds to send Seattle underserved high school youth to China to study.   

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