On June 2nd, the Ameson Foundation hosted a send-off reception for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Emerging Leaders: US-China Study Delegation. This reception marks the third year of the program, and the second year that Ameson has supported the delegation through hosting events and providing opportunities for interaction and an exchange of ideas. The delegation’s 20 participants, many of whom attend Historic Black Colleges and Universities, are all top students hailing from districts represented by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and were chosen after a rigorous selection process.
Held in Ameson’s Washington, DC headquarters, the reception featured an address by Ms. Muriel Hairston-Cooper, who congratulated the students on their academic accomplishments and encouraged them to take advantage of this opportunity as well as future opportunities to gain international experience such as the Ameson Year in China. Mr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the Ameson Foundation, followed by encouraging the delegates to not only learn about the people and places they visit, but also work to represent their communities and promote a deeper understanding in China of the diversity of cultures and ideas in the United States. As the event transitioned into a period of networking with guests including Mr. Monty McGee, Public Diplomacy Officer for the US Department of State; Wang Yanxia, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; and Wei Xiaoli, Third Secretary at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. During the event, the young leaders were clearly enthusiastic about the adventures awaiting them.
For two weeks, the CBCF emerging leaders will meet with top leaders in a range of fields during their stay in Beijing and Shanghai. Most of the students in the CBCF program have never visited China before and they all expressed their excitement to embark on the journey ahead. China’s prestigious Peking and Fudan Universities are responsible for planning many aspects of the delegation’s trip, ensuring that their time in China will be filled with engaging events and discussions.
According to a recent study conducted by the Institute of International Education only 5% of Americans who study abroad are black. This lack of travel experience outside of the United States translates to fewer African-Americans in international careers and leadership positions (for example, within the State Department, few blacks serve in top U.S. diplomatic positions). The Ameson Foundation supports the CBCF in their initiative to increase career and study options involving Sino-American relations and to expand opportunities for African Americans in an era of increasing globalization.