The China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) recently welcomed the first U.S. student delegation of the year to China. Twenty-nine graduate students from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) visited Beijing, Chengdu and Shenzhen from January 3 to 12, marking the 45th anniversary of normalization of China-U.S. diplomatic ties. It was the first youth delegation to come to the country following China’s recent announcement of plans to invite 50,000 young Americans for exchanges.
During their 10-day visit, the Columbia SIPA students interacted with think tanks, universities, high-tech enterprises and nonprofit organizations. They gained insights into China’s politics, economics, diplomacy, culture and environmental protection.
In Beijing, they spoke with diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, students at Peking and Tsinghua universities, and representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce in China and the China Foundation for Rural Development. They were also invited to attend the "Commemoration of the 45th Anniversary of the China-U.S. Diplomatic Relations,” a special event held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S.
Deputy Chief of Mission David Meale spoke at the dinner, expressing their support for exchanges between the Chinese and American people, especially the younger generation.
Chengdu was the students’ second stop. During their four days in the city, they visited the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, the Dujiangyan Water Conservancy Project, and the State Key Laboratory of Traction Power at Southwest Jiaotong University. At a China-U.S. youth exchange party, the Columbia delegation interacted with local students and Columbia alumni. Highlights included food tasting and a face-changing performance—a classic element of Sichuan opera.
Shenzhen was the third stop. The delegation visited China National GeneBank, one of four national-level gene storage banks worldwide. It parallels the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), and the DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ).
They also visited Nanshan Energy Eco-Park, where 950,000 tons of waste are processed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 118,750 tons annually. The students also enjoyed works of art made from recycled materials.
During his meeting with the students in Beijing, CUSEF President James Chau said,“ Young people are the future of China and the United States, and the quality of their partnership will characterize the outcomes of the most consequential relationship in the modern era.” He promised that CUSEF will continue its commitment to the ongoing student exchange programs, so that more young people will be represented in decisions that are shaping international relations.