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Obama wants 1 million Mandarin speakers by 2020

September 29, 2015

Note the bit about creating a curriculum. Presumably it’s not focused on K-12 immersion but rather high school, but even so, perhaps some will trickle down to our Mandarin immersion programs. – Beth


When U.S. President Barack Obama announced the 100,000 Strong Initiative in November 2009, setting the goal of sending 100,000 American students to study in China by 2014, it seemed like a lofty aspiration. In the 2008-2009 academic year, only 13,674 American students studied abroad in China. But that number rose steadily over the next five years, with help from private donations and Chinese government scholarships, and in July 2014 Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the goal had been met.

Now the American president’s back with an even bigger goal and one closer to home. On Sept. 25, in a joint press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is wrapping up an official state visit, Obama announced the launch of “1 Million Strong,” an initiative that aims to bring the total number of stateside learners of Mandarin Chinese to 1 million by the year 2020. “If our countries are going to do more together around the world,” said Obama, “then speaking each other’s language, truly understanding each other, is a good place to start.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Gabriel Martinez permalink
    October 2, 2015 10:34 pm

    Your article you posted on how China is making major efforts to increase it’s ability to influence other countries without force or coercion is communist propaganda. Using China’s soft power to try and coerce Westside residents will have no effect. Your nationalism will get you nowhere. Most polls show that most of the world doesn’t view China very positively. For obvious reasons, one which I just mentioned above, is nationalism, the other is party control. And that’s just scratching the service of Communist China. China spends billions of dollars to make it’s image look better, with no positive results. The reason China can’t get respect is because it doesn’t deserve it. You cannot buy people off, and then dominate them with Communism. And you will not get respect with a “Zuckerberg” either. Now I know why you are so focused on rich demographics. Civil societies work because we know the difference between freedom and that which is the opposite of freedom. It’s good vs. evil. Good always wins in the end. China’s soft sell will never thrive because of their nationalism, and it’s party control. China’s thriving economic growth will also be it’s downfall. Money can’t buy respect.

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