Joe Biden and Xi Jinping meet with Ameson SAYA Students

leaders-and-shirtThe Vice Presidents of China and America (in Los Angeles), holding SAYA t-shirts designed by the Ameson Foundation and presented by Ameson SAYA students


hen Ameson was founded as a not-for-profit Education & Culture Exchange Foundation in 1994, Ameson’s Honorary Chairman Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali stressed the core Ameson vision, which is that the key to future peace lies with youth.

Almost twenty years after that defining statement, Ameson SAYA students had the great pleasure to meet with two leading figures in global politics. On Friday, February 17th, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited the International Studies Learning Center, a Los Angeles high school, to hold a question and answer session with Sino-American Youth Ambassador (SAYA) students and their American peers.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping with Ameson SAYA studentsThe session was attended by 15 Chinese students selected from Suzhou No. 10 High School, Yixing High School, and Hefei No. 1 High School – part of Ameson’s SAYA 2012 delegation – as well as a group of American students learning Chinese at ISLC.

The Chinese students were originally scheduled to return to China the previous weekend after two weeks of cultural exchange in America with Ameson’s Sino-American Youth Ambassadors program, but decided to extend their stay in order to meet the two leaders, who were scheduled to meet them in LA.

Xi and Biden were welcomed to the school with a performance of the traditional Chinese dragon dance, and then visited a Chinese class in progress. In the classroom, Ameson SAYA students were given the chance to ask their questions to Joe Biden, and American students could ask their questions to Xi Jinping. Student questions ranged from larger questions of how to improve Sino-American relations to more personal questions about the progress of Biden’s niece and granddaughter in their Mandarin studies.

The students then presented the two leaders with commemorative t-shirts designed by the Ameson Foundation in a classic photo-op moment that attracted the attention of several major news outlets. CCTV covered the event, and a long article and photo appeared on the second page of the Yang-Tse Evening Paper. Articles by the New York Times, Associated Press, and Finance Online also mentioned the event. In coming days there will be an online chat overseen by the Ameson Foundation to give reporters the chance to interview the participating students collectively.

The meeting effectively represented the two nations’ shared goal of strengthening bilateral ties through educational exchange....

This meeting comes on the heels of Obama’s 2009 pledge to send 100,000 American students to China to study, a sentiment supported by President Hu Jintao via a government mandate to support youth exchanges – as a civilian ambassador initiative for future peace and prosperity between the two nations.

According to feedback, the meeting between Ameson SAYA students with Xi and Biden effectively represented the two nations’ shared goal of strengthening bilateral ties through educational exchange.

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