The University of Iowa

US-China Strong Foundation Signature Partnership

US-China Strong Foundation logo

The US-China Strong Foundation works to strengthen US-China relations by expanding and diversifying the number of Americans learning Mandarin and studying abroad in China. The Foundation is an offshoot of the Obama administration's "100,000 Strong Initiative," which was launched in 2010 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and China’s current Vice Premier Liu Yandong. President Obama expanded this mission in fall 2015 by announcing a new 1 Million Strong initiative to increase the number of U.S. students studying Mandarin to one million by 2020. 

The US-China Strong Foundation was established on the premise that the US-China relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and that we must ensure that our next generation of leaders has the skills to manage it effectively. The 2015 signature report, "Obama-Xi Summit: What Happened & What Comes Next in US-China Relations" details the current state of U.S.-China relations and the foundation's goals for the future.

The University of Iowa was chosen as a US-China Strong Foundation Signature Partner in 2014. Each year, the University of Iowa nominates student ambassadors who have experience studying abroad in China or with the Chinese language to serve as leaders on campus. These students spearhead the US-China Strong Foundation's grassroots movement by hosting information sessions on study abroad programs in China, visiting K-12 classrooms to speak about Chinese culture, writing articles and stories to share their China experience with others, or sharing their stories using social media


alex duff

US-China Strong's June Student Ambassador Spotlight!

Alex Duff was nominated to be a Student Ambassador by his school, the University of Iowa. In his hometown of Volga, Iowa, Alex met with students at the local middle school to talk about China study abroad opportunities and his own experience through the State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. He also created five unique presentations tailored to five different classes’ interests and questions.

Carola McGiffert


More must be done to ensure a constructive relationship with China

U.S.-China ties are even more important in light of Presidents Obama’s and Xi’s commitment to increasing Mandarin language learning in the U.S.-also known as our 1 Million Strong initiative – which aims to see 1 million U.S., K-12 students learning Mandarin and studying in China by 2020. “The goal is ambitious, but the need is urgent,” observes Carola McGiffert, CEO of 100K Strong, in a recent op-ed.

Jeffery Ding

UI 100k Strong Ambassador nears graduation, reflects on UI

As Jeffrey Ding prepares to part ways with the University of Iowa he reflected on the  “amazing opportunities” he’s received while at the UI, which include being awarded four distinguished recognitions.


UI 100k Strong Ambassador named Rhodes scholar

Ding, a senior from Iowa City, was selected as one of 32 American Rhodes scholars on Nov. 22 from a field of 869 applicants; 90 are named worldwide. He’ll receive $50,000 annually for two years and will have the opportunity to attend Oxford University in England.


100K Strong Ambassador and Boren scholar chronicles his 2015-16 year in Beijing 

Jeffrey Ding is a senior from Iowa City, IA studying political science, economics and Chinese at the University of Iowa. He will be spending this fall in Beijing, China on the CIEE Advanced Chinese Studies program and will continue living there next semester as he pursues an internship funded by a Boren Scholarship. 


100K Strong Student Ambassadors attend Mayor's lunch in Muscatine

On February 19th five UI 100,000 Strong Foundation Student Ambassadors attended the Mayor of Muscatine, Iowa’s Report to the Community on China Initiatives. In this piece, Student Ambassador Sarah Steffens shares her thoughts on the events of the afternoon.

100K Strong ambassadors visit D.C. for summit

In November 2014, four Student Ambassadors and an International Programs staff liaison traveled to Washington, D.C. for a student reunion summit where they attended policy discussions on U.S.-China relations, developed ideas for promoting study abroad in China on their home campuses, and attended a dinner hosted by the Chinese embassy.