L.A. Mayor, Musician Will.i.am Announce Major Beijing Concert To Benefit Study Abroad
City Partners with State Department on Educational Exchange Initiative in China.
Los Angeles, California (December 22, 2011) /ChinaNewswire.com/ — Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Grammy award-winning artist will.i.am and Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA) joined students at Mendez Learning Center on Monday to announce a star-studded concert in Beijing on Dec. 17 to build support for the State Department's 100,000 Strong Initiative to promote study abroad in China.
Los Angeles is the latest city to throw its support behind 100,000 Strong, a program launched in 2010 to dramatically increase the number of American students studying in China over the next four years. The Beijing concert, through the support of generous corporate sponsors, will help 100,000 Strong raise the money necessary to send U.S. students to China.
"Los Angeles couldn't be more pleased to partner with 100,000 Strong," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "This program will create life-changing opportunities for our Los Angeles' young people to travel to a new country, learn about a new culture and meet new friends."
Will.i.am, the front man for The Black Eyed Peas, will headline the Dec. 17 concert along with several other prominent Chinese and U.S. artists including apl.de.ap, also of The Black Eyed Peas, the Bucky Johnson Band and singer-songwriter John Legend. Legend is a nine-time Grammy award winner.
Will.i.am met with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in July to announce his support for 100,000 Strong. At the meeting, Clinton formally announced that will.i.am would serve as a goodwill ambassador for the program.
"Having come from the Los Angeles area, I know first-hand how important programs like 100,000 Strong can be," will.i.am said. "The opportunity to study abroad in China would be a dream realized for so many young people who may not otherwise have had the chance to see what else the world has to offer."
Also joining Mayor Villaraigosa at Monday's event: Carola McGiffert, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Director of 100,000 Strong, Mendez Engineering and Technology Principal Alex Avila, teachers and students from Mendez high school, Ted Dean, Co-Chairman of APSA and representatives of Cinequest.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said of L.A.'s partnership: "We are thrilled that Mayor Villaraigosa has embraced this very important initiative. The more support we get from our nation's mayors, the closer we are to sending 100,000 American students to China over the next four years."
In addition to Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Seattle have agreed to serve as partner cities for 100,000 Strong.
Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA) runs full-scholarship programs for U.S. high school students from underserved communities to study in Beijing, focusing on language acquisition, cultural understanding, leadership development and exposure to international careers. It is organizing the December concert with the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation Beijing and with the support of the State Department on 100,000 Strong.
"We are excited to partner with the City of Los Angeles on this important initiative" said APSA's Ted Dean. "We also are excited to be announcing a new partnership with Cinequest to develop a U.S.-China youth film collaborative program that will deliver even more opportunities for LA public high school students to travel to China and work with their counterparts on creative projects."
Cinequest, which helps educate young people about technology and movie-making, will partner with APSA to organize collaborative film projects involving L.A. public high school students and Chinese students.
The 100,000 Strong Initiative is a public-private partnership; to date, private corporate and foundation donors have pledged more than $11 million towards the Initiative. The Chinese government has offered 20,000 scholarships for U.S. students. To learn more about the 100,000 Strong Initiative, visit www.state.gov/100Kstrong.