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Michelle Obama urges American students to study in China

Citing the need to prepare young people to succeed in the global economy, First Lady Michelle Obama has encouraged US students to study in China, work together and make America and the world stronger.

world Updated: Jan 20, 2011 09:26 IST

Citing the need to prepare young people to succeed in the global economy, First Lady Michelle Obama has encouraged US students to study in China, work together and make America and the world stronger.

In support of the "100,000 Strong Initiative" of US President Barack Obama, the First Lady spoke to more than a thousand young people about the importance of building relationships with their peers in China and creating a mutual understanding around the world.

"Studying in countries like China isn’t only about your prospects in the global marketplace. It’s not just about whether you can compete with your peers in other countries to make America stronger. It’s also about whether you can come together, and work together with them to make our world stronger," Michelle said in her address.

"It’s about the friendships you make, the bonds of trust you establish, and the image of America that you project to the rest of the world," she said.

"That’s why it is so important for more of our young people to live and study in each other’s countries – because that’s how you develop that habit of cooperation,"she said.

"By immersing yourself in someone else’s culture, by sharing your stories and letting them share theirs, by taking the time to get past the stereotypes and misperceptions that too often divide us," Michelle said.

The First Lady announced more than USD 2.25 million in private sector pledges in support of the initiative’s goal of dramatically increasing the number and diversity of American students studying in China.

In particular, the USD 1 million pledges by both Caterpillar Inc. and Citigroup, the USD 100,000 pledges by Motorola Solutions Foundation and the US-China Education Trust (USCET) are the first major financial commitments made in support of the Initiative, the White House said.

They will advance the goal of increasing the number of American students who study in China by 2014, particularly among under-represented groups such as minority and community college students, it said.

The "100,000 Strong Initiative" aims to significantly increase the number of Americans who have the opportunity to study in China.

Citing the strategic importance of the US-China relationship, President Obama had announced the Initiative in Shanghai in November 2009, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially launched the effort in May last year.

The Initiative is designed to help educational institutions establish or expand China study programmes.

It also seeks to reach out to communities that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad programmes, including minority, community college, and high school students, as well as students in the fields of science and technology and those pursuing advanced degrees in China studies.