from our friends at EOYDC
13 African American High School Students from the San Francisco Bay Area Comprise Inaugural Northern California Delegation of the China-U.S. Study Exchange Foundation

OAKLAND, CA July 2, 2013 – Thirteen African American high school students, representing Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties, have been selected to participate in the first Northern California delegation of the China-U.S. Study Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) – Think China 2013. The delegation will travel to Beijing and Shanghai – on a cross-cultural academic, civic, business, and service-oriented tour – from July 13 – 27, 2013. Think China’s program objectives are to inspire global learning, and strengthen relations between the Chinese and African Americans.

CUSEF is a non-profit organization in China whose mission is to enhance relationships between China and the United States via study exchange programs. Through various initiatives, the National Urban League (NUL) and CUSEF have facilitated African American-focused visits to experience Chinese culture. Think China builds upon the NUL tours as an empowerment tool for both business and education, focused on a new audience – the high school student. Seven young women, and six young men make up the delegation. The average age is 16. The majority of these students have never traveled abroad. “I would like to learn about the lifestyle of high school students in China… and what college life is like,” says Brandon Vonderwerth (17), Think China delegate.

The Think China curriculum and program platform focuses on five key areas: academics, civic engagement, cultural emersion, business and industry, and community service. Students will have an opportunity to tour universities, and meet with civic and global business leaders.

In preparation for the trip to China, the delegation has participated in a series of pre-travel leadership training activities. The activities provide an introduction to Chinese history and culture, public policy, professional development, and team building. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the Port of Oakland, are among the Think China pre-travel leadership training partners.

Regina Jackson, President & CEO of the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) is Think China’s lead chaperone. Fellow chaperones are Coach Nola Turnáge (100 Black Men of the Bay Area), and Nicka Smith (NS2 Photography & Alameda County, CA Youth Ancestral Project).

In efforts to chronicle this endeavor, the Think China Look Book has been published. This living document provides greater detail on the program history, participants, partners, engagements, and expected outcomes. The look book will be frequently updated with program milestones, student reflections, and photos. Students and chaperones will be reporting via social media while abroad. They are also available for interviews.

Think China 2013 – The China-U.S. Study Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), and the National Urban League (NUL) strive to bridge the gap between Chinese and African American communities. The Northern California Delegation of CUSEF (Think China) builds upon this work to inspire educational and business empowerment, for youth. McClymonds High School (Oakland), Castlemont High School (Oakland), the East Oakland Youth Development Center, and 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, comprise Think China’s program leadership.

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About The Author

Susan Mernit is editor & publisher of Oakland Local (oaklandlocal.com) a news & community hub for Oakland, CA. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & former! Yahoo Senior Director, Mernit was consulting program manager for The Knight News Challenge, 2008-09; was a 2012 Stanford Carlos McClatchy Fellow; and is a board adviser to The Center for Health Reporting at USC, Annenberg School of Journalism. She has consulted with many non-profit organizations on strategy, product development and social media/engagement, including Salon.com, TechSoup Global, Public Radio International and the Institute for Policy Studies/Economic Hardship Reporting Project, led by Barbara Ehrenreich.

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