The Advisory Committee of President Barack Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative, which encourages Americans to study in China, is led by former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel and departing Chicago Mayor Richard Daly.
Daly led Chicago in engaging China
and promoting cross-cultural program
s. His efforts earned the Windy City the distinction of being “the most China-friendly city” when President Hu Jintao visited Chicago and communicated with student
s at Walter Payton in January. That distinction is helping Chicago support Barack Obama’s goal.
"The mayor has initiated the largest public school Mandarin
program in the United States. There are 42 schools in Chicago that are teaching Mandarin to more than 12,000 students," said William Spence, co-chairman of the Chicago Sister Cities China Committee.
There are 600 times more Chinese
students studying English than Americans studying Mandarin. The State Department says 10 times more Chinese students study in the United States than Americans in China. The 100,000 Strong initiative is intended to begin closing that gap.