Happy Fourth of July


I'd like to wish all of our American friends celebrating this week a wonderful Fourth of July. The date not only commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but more deeply the birth of a nation, and is an opportunity to honor America's rich and diverse history. Now more than ever, the message of all people being created equal—and the right to life, liberty and happiness—holds universal importance.

Since my last Harbor Connect in April, our team at CUSEF has been incredibly busy:

Events: We have just returned from a youth festival in Fuzhou where some 500 American and Chinese students spent a week sharing what matters to them most, in a town hall that CUSEF was honored to host. I also moderated a panel with a truly unique line-up of speakers: Madam Tang Wensheng, best known as Chairman Mao's interpreter during President Nixon's 1972 visit to China; Ms. Carla Canales, the American mezzo soprano and cultural envoy for the Biden Administration; and Mr. Cao Dewang, whose story about a Chinese glass manufacturer opening in Dayton, Ohio, was told in the Oscar-winning documentary American Factory. Check out this video to see the impact we have on young lives.

Delegations: We hosted multiple U.S. delegations in China to help ensure trust, exchange, and communication continues to exist amidst a complex bilateral climate. During this time, a group of six mayors from Silicon Valley, which drives the world's fifth largest economy (California), visited us in Hong Kong through the China Silicon Valley Association. We explored the economic and climate connections between the San Francisco Bay and the Greater Bay Area, at a time when progress on both fronts can't wait for an improved political environment.

Students: We also continue to engage American and Chinese students with one another. We invited and hosted American students in China, from universities that push the frontiers of discovery including Carnegie Mellon, NYU, University of Chicago, UPenn, UC Berkeley, and more. We are grateful to U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns for sitting down with our exchange students from his alma mater Johns Hopkins SAIS, and to former U.S. Ambassador and Senator Max Baucus for co-leading a delegation from Montana with CUSEF. We also send our best wishes to President John J. DeGioia and the Georgetown community for his ongoing recovery.

Partnerships: As partnerships are critical to our impact, in April, we supported conferences organized by Harvard and Columbia. I also spoke at Harvard Kennedy School's China Conference with Professor Graham Allison and Ambassador Xie Feng, where I sought to invoke the legacy of President Kennedy in highlighting the need to win the hearts and minds not only of the American and Chinese people, but people everywhere.

Dialogue: Finally, we were pleased to co-organize the 10th annual China and Globalization Forum in Beijing. In my opening remarks, I said that the more the world recedes and entrenches within our own borders, and views others as enemies and adversaries rather than fellow humans, the more we create the very reality we say we fear. Yet I remain infused with hope, thanks to the vibrant youth engagement and other exchanges I am privileged to witness, and the tolerance and understanding we are collectively building everyday.

To learn more about why I maintain an optimistic outlook, I encourage you to watch our latest interviews on our affiliate platform, China-US Focus, with a few of our program partners: Dennis Wilder, Wang Dong, Jia Qingguo, and Joseph Nye.

As always, thank you for being a valued part of our community.

James Chau

China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF)