Morgan State president leads HBCU students on cultural exchange trip to China
By Zenitha Prince
Trice Edney News Wire
This summer, 168 students and 22 chaperones from Congressional Black Caucus districts will travel to China, as part of a Black education initiative sponsored by the China – United States Exchange Foundation and China’s Ministry of Education in collaboration with its partners. The program is an extension of the HBCU scholarship initiative announced by Chinese Vice Premier Madam Liu Yandong on Capitol Hill in November 2013.
“This exciting initiative is a cross-cultural relationship-building effort designed to enhance U.S.-China relations – and to give students from predominantly Black American universities and colleges a special opportunity to interact with Chinese students and educators in a progressive and collaborative environment,” said Julia Wilson, CEO and founder of Wilson Global Communications, which is managing the program in the U.S., in a statement.
“It is an amazing opportunity for African-American students to learn about other cultures, languages and history,” she added in an AFRO interview. “And, because China is the second-largest economy in the world behind the United States, it behooves African Americans to pay attention to trends in that country.”
In total, 400 two-week scholarships were awarded to the CBC along with 1,000 longer-term scholarships, ranging from six-weeks to two years awarded to HBCUs, as part of a three-year program.
David Wilson, chairman of the HBCU Network—the schools involved in the program—and president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, said students have shared that traveling beyond their borders and seeing the rising dominance of China in real time have been life-altering.
“For some of the students who have gone on this program this is the first time they have been on a plane, much less visited a different country,” Wilson told the AFRO in an interview one day before traveling to China for the seventh U.S. China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange where he was expected to give an update on the program.
“The students have called their experiences transformational, and they were appreciative of how embracing students in China have been, how much they have learned about Chinese history and culture and what they were able to share with the Chinese students about African-American culture,” he added. “This program is a way to break down barriers that might have existed because of lack of understanding and enable students at HBCUs, who rarely get opportunities to study abroad, to get that opportunity and make themselves more attractive to employers and also open their world view. As a result, when they graduate from our institutions they are no longer hesitant to go