David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, led an HBCU delegation visiting China this week as part of the fifth U.S.-China Consultation on People to People Exchange meeting in Beijing.
The meeting was co-hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China’s Vice Premier Liu Yandong, China’s highest-ranking government official overseeing education.
At the event, Yandong formalized China’s commitment to award 1,000 scholarships to HBCU diverse students to study in the Asian country, a plan she first announced during a Capitol Hill meeting in Washington, D.C. last November between leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus and HBCU presidents from Howard University, Morgan State University, Tougaloo College and Xavier University of Louisiana.
“On behalf of the HBCUs in the U.S., we’re delighted to be a part of this historic moment in progressive global student exchange and study,” Wilson, the HBCU delegation’s chairman and spokesman during the trip, said in a statement. “This collaboration between the Chinese government and HBCUs provides an excellent opportunity to enable our students to become competent in Chinese history and culture, and will significantly enhance their abilities to be successful global leaders throughout the world.”
First lady Michelle Obama recently visited China on a separate trip, and in a White House statement, commented on the continued importance of relations between the two countries.
“I gained a deep appreciation for the shared aspirations of people in both of our countries,” Obama said. “I saw firsthand the importance of continuing to strengthen the bonds between our peoples–the foundation upon which the U.S.-China relationship is built.”
During the three-day trip, HBCU presidents and administrators met with their Chinese university counterparts to discuss how they would implement the 1,000-scholarship award program.
The trip is part of an initiative by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, a Hong Kong-based non-profit that encourages and facilitates exchanges among public policy makers, civic leaders, think tanks, academia, and business organizations in the U.S. and China to strengthen ties between the citizens of the two countries in the areas of culture, education, science and technology, sports, and women’s issues. The group facilitated the first HBCU trip to China in September, when the delegation first met with Premier Yandong.
“After four years of collaborative work on the part of the HBCUs, the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, and African American and Chinese leaders, it is gratifying to see our collective vision come to fruition through the official awarding of 1,000 short and long term scholarships for American minority students to study in China,” said Alexander Tzang, CUSEF’s special advisor. “This event is a historic milestone that we believe will be the continuation of many rewarding things to come.”
The HBCU delegation included: Beverly Hogan, president of Tougaloo College; John S. Wilson Jr., president of Morehouse College; Pamela Hammond, provost of Hampton University; Weldon Jackson, provost of Bowie State University; Myra Burnett, vice provost of Spelman College; Barbara Inman, vice president for Student Affairs, Hampton University; T. Joan Robinson, vice president, Division of International Affairs, Morgan State University; Anthony Wutoh, assistant provost for International Affairs, Howard University; Kathleen Kennedy, dean of the School of Pharmacy, Xavier University of Louisiana; Clarissa Myrick-Harris, dean of Humanities & Social Sciences, Morehouse College; Loye Ashton, director of International Studies, Tougaloo College; and Ruihua Shen, director of Chinese Studies, Morehouse College.