April 28, 2012

Chicago Students to Study in China Under The 100,000 Strong Initiative

State Department Announces $100,000 Pledge from Motorola Mobility

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on May 4 will announce an important new opportunity for Chicago Public School (CPS) students to expand their cultural and educational horizons by studying abroad in China. With the generous financial support from Motorola Mobility Foundation, CPS students from Lindblom Math & Science Academy and Walter Payton College Preparatory High School will be able to study in China this summer under President Barack Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative.

Secretary Clinton launched the 100,000 Strong Initiative in May 2010. The national effort is designed to dramatically increase the number and diversity of U.S. students studying in China over a five-year period. Clinton will make the announcement at the third annual U.S.-China Consultations on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in Beijing.

Carola McGiffert, the State Department’s Director of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, cheered Chicago’s ongoing participation in 100,000 Strong, calling it the Obama Administration’s signature effort to prepare the next generation of American leaders to engage constructively with China.

“We are proud to expand further the number of Chicago Public Schools students in this nation-wide effort to train America’s future global leaders,” McGiffert said.

Chicago Public Schools offers Mandarin language instruction as part of its curriculum at 25 elementary schools and 23 high schools.

“Our students are already leading the nation as learners of this important global language, and we are pleased that many will have a chance to take those language skills to the next level through a summer immersion experience in China,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“This program will provide life-changing opportunities for Chicago-area high school students,” Mayor Emanuel added. “Many kids only dream about traveling to a different country to live and learn. The 100,000 Strong Initiative will help turn dream into reality.”

Mayor Emanuel is the latest U.S. mayor to endorse the 100,000 Strong Initiative, joining mayors from Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, DC.

Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Mobility Foundation said, "Chicago is our home town, and as this year is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Motorola Mobility's presence in China, we are very pleased to help create opportunities for Chicago students to study abroad in China and build a deeper understanding about a part of the world that is so important in the global economy."

The funding from Motorola Mobility Foundation will allow more than approximately 15 CPS students to travel to China to participate in a six-week summer program organized by Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA), which includes Mandarin language study, engagement with Chinese culture, community service, and an exploration of international job opportunities. 

“We share the commitment of the 100,000 Strong Initiative and the City of Chicago to ensuring that underserved youth have access to these types of life-changing experiences.  Chicago students will return to the U.S. after their summer in China having had their horizons expanded in ways that will pay dividends for the rest of their lives and imbue them with the global skills necessary to be real leaders in the 21st Century. I can speak from personal experience, as I studied abroad over 30 years ago and it changed my life.  I know that it will change the lives of these students as well,” said Robert Roche, chairman of APSA.

The 100,000 Strong Initiative is a public-private partnership; to date, private corporate and foundation donors have pledged more than $16 million towards the Initiative.  The Chinese government has offered 20,000 scholarships for U.S. students.  To learn more about the 100,000 Strong Initiative, visit www.state.gov/100Kstrong.