Dear Friends,

We’re excited to share a special event that took place on October 20, 2017, in Beijing with US Ambassador Terry Branstad and nearly 100 guests, including students and administrators from local study abroad programs, Project Pengyou and US-China Strong Foundation stakeholders and Student Ambassadors. Hosted by Ambassador Branstad at his residence, in cooperation with US-China Strong and Project Pengyou, the event focused on the critical role that people-to-people exchange plays in strengthening the US-China relationship.

In his remarks, US-China Strong President Travis Tanner noted Ambassador Branstad’s personal history with China – which dates back to 1983 – and how programs promoting study in China and Mandarin language learning can advance and enhance ties between our two nations.

Ambassador Branstad, center, and guests, including US-China Strong President Travis Tanner and board member Liz Haenle


Ambassador Branstad described then-provincial official Xi Jinping’s visit to Branstad’s home state of Iowa in 1985. Decades later, their friendship still endures and illustrates the positive effect of investing in opportunities to better understand China, its people, and its culture. He said:

“Tomorrow’s leaders must be able to compete, work, and thrive in a globalized world. The world is increasingly diverse and multilingual. That is why it is so important for American students to follow in your footsteps. American students should pursue opportunities to learn Mandarin and increase understanding of China. Then we will have the skills to build bridges between China and the United States.”

US-China Strong President Travis Tanner and Project Pengyou Chief Holly Chang present Ambassador Branstad with a memorial card signed by the students and guests in attendance


The ambassador continued:

“While the flow of Asian students to US universities is at an all-time high, it is essential that more Americans immerse themselves in foreign language study and study abroad programs today, particularly to Asia, so they may become tomorrow’s leaders and contribute to the prosperity of the United States. By promoting this important mission, the US-China Strong Foundation and the Golden Bridges Foundation, which houses the Project Pengyou initiative, not only help prepare our young people for the future, but enhance our two nations’ ability to collaborate. They are making tremendous strides to bring the US and China together, starting with our students.”


We are honored and grateful to Ambassador Branstad for hosting the event and sharing his China experience and perspective on the future of the relationship. Our thanks also go to Project Pengyou and all who attended and contributed to the event. We look forward to working with Ambassador Branstad to build bridges between our two countries and strengthen the bilateral relationship.


Thanks, as always, for your support.


The US-China Strong Foundation

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