New Horizons Navigating the Future of US-China Educational Exchanges

New Horizons: Navigating the Future of US-China Educational Exchanges

April 4, 2024
8:00 - 9:30 PM EDT

Since the normalization of US-China bilateral relationship 45 years ago, educational exchanges have brought many benefits to both countries. Even though the pandemic and geopolitical tensions have significantly hindered two-way exchanges during the last three years, the overall environment is improving. Last November, leaders of both countries reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting people-to-people exchange at their meeting in San Francisco, where Chinese President Xi Jinping boldly announced the goal of welcoming 50,000 American students to visit China in the next 5 years. This announcement has created much excitement among educators and community leaders.

Please join us in this special online event that brings together leaders dedicated to expanding US-China educational exchanges for a timely discussion on the new opportunities and challenges ahead.

This program is a collaboration between the US Heartland China Association and China Institute in America.

2 hours of CTLE credits are offered for New York State teachers attending this program.

This series is made possible through the support of the Chinese International Education Foundation, and generous supporters of China Institute in America.

Featured Speakers & Panelists

Shen Xuesong
SHEN Xuesong
Minister Counselor of Education for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

Ms. SHEN Xuesong was appointed as Minister Counsellor of Embassy of People’s Republic of China in the United States of America in December, 2023. She graduated from Foreign Languages Department and International and Comparative Education Institute of Beijing Normal University and the Political Sciences Department of Ball State University (USA). She served as Deputy Secretary General of China Education Association for International Exchange (2014-2021), Education Program Specialist at UNESCO Liaison Office to the UN in New York and UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (2006-2012), Vice Chair of World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (2018-2021), as well as Minister Counsellor, the Permanent Delegation of China to UNESCO (2021-2023).

Peggy Blumenthal
Peggy Blumenthal
Senior Counselor to the CEO of Institute of International Education

After 20 years of service at IIE, Ms. Blumenthal became IIE's Chief Operating Officer in 2005, transitioning to the role of Senior Counselor to IIE’s CEO in 2011. Her earlier responsibilities at IIE included supervision of its international offices, research, and educational services, working closely with the U.S. Department of State and other public and private sponsors.

Before joining IIE, Ms. Blumenthal served as Assistant Director of Stanford University's Overseas Studies and then as Coordinator of Graduate Services/Fellowships for the University of Hawaii's Center for Asian and Pacific Studies. Her earlier work focused on the development of U.S.-China exchanges as a staff member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the Asia Society's China Council.

Ms. Blumenthal holds a B.A. from Harvard University in Modern Chinese History (magna cum laude) and an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She chairs the Board of JCIE-USA (Japan Center for International Exchange), is on the Board of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation and previously served as a Trustee of the Hong Kong America Center and Princeton-in-Asia.

Selected publications include A Rising or Ebbing Tide: Do Chinese Students Still Want To Study in the U.S.?, IIE White Paper, 2021; Welcoming a New Wave of Students from China: Rising Expectations and Challenges, co-authored chapter with S. Lim, Summer 2017 issue of New Directions for Student Services; International Students and Global Mobility in Higher Education: National Trends and New Directions co-edited with R. Bhandari, (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011); Developing Global Competence in Engineering Students: US and German Approaches, co-authored with U. Grothus, DAAD, Online Journal for Global Engineering Education, Volume 3, Issue 2, 2008.

James Smith Square
Dr. James Smith
President, Eastern Michigan University

Dr. James M. Smith is the 23rd president of Eastern Michigan University. He began his duties on July 1, 2016. Before coming to EMU, Smith served as president of Northern State University (NSU) in Aberdeen, South Dakota, since June 2009.

During his presidency, he has been a leading proponent in encouraging international students to study in the United States, and executed an innovative enrollment partnership with Beibu Gulf University in China.

Smith, 66, who grew up near Columbus, Ohio, in Washington Court House, knew early on that he wanted to be a teacher. He always admired teachers and enjoyed school. He became an elementary and middle school teacher after earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1979. He would go on to earn a Master of Education, Educational Administration, from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a Doctor of Philosophy, Educational Leadership, from Miami University.

Over the next 28 years, Smith served as an elementary school principal, a teaching fellow and assistant professor at Miami, director of the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals at Butler University in Indianapolis, and director of the Educational Leadership Program and coordinator of doctoral studies at West Texas A&M University. Smith was also vice president for Economic Development at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, before heading to NSU.

Heather Burns Page
Dr. Heather Burns Page
Principal, The Baccalaureate School for Global Education, New York City Public Schools

Dr. Heather Burns Page is the principal of the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, a 7-12 world IB school located in Astoria, Queens. A science educator and school leader of over twenty-three years in the New York City public schools, Dr. Page is a recipient of the 2015 New York Times “Teachers Who Make a Difference” Award, striving to prepare students to be global citizens and environmental stewards who work to better themselves, their community, and the environment. Dr. Page loves to explore nature through travel and has taken students to Eastern and Western Europe, South Pacific, Central and South America. She completed two global study programs in Africa with New York University and circumnavigated Iceland as a 2016 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow in collaboration with National Geographic. Dr. Page was selected to join the delegation of school leaders from the New York City Department of Education and participated in the 2023 China Educational Leadership Study Tour and Exchange.

Alpha Xinying Edens
Dr. Alpha Xinying Edens
Professor at University of Tulsa & 2023 Heartland Chinese Teacher Award recipient

Dr. Xinying “Alpha” Edens is a distinguished educator in Chinese language education. An Assistant Professor at The University of Tulsa, Dr. Edens is deeply passionate about promoting the Chinese language and culture. As Chair of the Beihai Sister City Partnership for Tulsa Global Alliance, Dr. Edens fosters cultural exchange and understanding between the two cities. She is also the recipient of the US Heartland China Association’s Heartland Chinese Teacher Award, and the Ye Laoshi Legacy Scholarship from the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools.

An impactful leader in the educational field, Dr. Edens is the Director of the Holland Hall Chinese Programs, recognized as the Most Distinguished Chinese Program in the US by the Chinese Language Teachers Association, USA; the Founder and Director of The Oklahoma Chinese Language Institute; Director of the HSK Testing Center in Oklahoma, and a Rater for the Educational Testing Service.

Min Fan Bigger
Min Fan
Executive Director of the US Heartland China Association

Min Fan joined the United States Heartland China Association (USHCA) as its Executive Director in 2020 after a successful career as an innovation leader in a large multi-national technology company, a mentor in the Colorado startup ecosystem, and a nonprofit leader. As the executive director, Min is responsible for the strategic planning, program execution, and partner/donor relationship management of USHCA. Min Fan studied at Peking University before completing her graduate education at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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