Skip to content

Students become part of State Department’s ‘100,000 Strong’ pledge

February 17, 2011
Arrow Buff


Gallaudet has joined a national effort launched by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to significantly increase the number of American students who study in China.

The “100,000 Strong: U.S. Students in China” initiative was announced by President Obama during his trip to China in November 2009. The goal is to send at least 100,000 American students (high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professionals) to China over the next four years for study experiences of varying lengths and types.

Last month, 23 Gallaudet students attended an address by First Lady Michelle Obama at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she emphasized the need to prepare young people to succeed in the modern global economy through international travel.

The First Lady explained, “Studying abroad isn’t just an important part of a well-rounded educational experience. It’s also becoming increasingly important for success in the modern global economy. Getting ahead in today’s workplaces isn’t just about the skills you bring from the classroom. It’s also about the experience you have with the world beyond our borders–with people, and languages, and cultures that are very different from our own.”

Undergraduate Rian Norris was thrilled to be in the same room as Mrs. Obama. She called it a reaffirming “I have been given the capability to do anything I want” kind of experience. The speech reminded the history major to recognize and take advantage of opportunities. “It seems that we easily isolate and place limitations on ourselves,” said Norris.

“[Michelle Obama] gives me a big dream, which is to establish a sister deaf school relationship between China and America, and to become an international deaf ambassador,” said Jiayi Zhou, a graduate student in the International Development Program. “I believe with the 100,000 Strong  project, we deaf people can build a better international deaf community, as Michelle Obama said.”

Gallaudet honors the president’s pledge

Study abroad programs have long been a part of Gallaudet’s commitment to global citizenship, said Dr. Asiah Mason, director of the Center for International Programs and Services, adding that deaf students are often underrepresented in study abroad programs at other universities, and this needs to change.

“We (at Gallaudet) have a positive working relationship with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and its EducationUSA staff,” said Mason. “We are going to remain actively engaged with the leaders of the 100,000 Strong Initiative and will work hard to get our students funding to participate in the 100,000 Strong Initiative.”

Gallaudet takes the message home

Keeping in the spirit of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, Gallaudet hosted a delegation from the Beijing Union University (BUU) from January 16 to 20.  Executive Director for Enrollment Charity Reeds Hines welcomed the group to her home on January 17.

The dinner at Reedy Hines’ home was an extended invitation to the Chinese representatives to see the American way of life by having American food in an American home before their visit at Gallaudet began.  Reedy Hines made the offer because she was moved by China’s strong desire to provide educational opportunities for its deaf and hard of hearing students and form a partnership between the two universities. 

The idea for a Gallaudet visit was planted last September, when Reedy Hines and Mason undertook a week-long trip to China through the Department of State’s Education USA program. The two went to learn more about helping Chinese students make informed decisions about studying in the U.S., finding out more about educational opportunities in China, and supporting accredited U.S. and Chinese education institutions with international partnership efforts. 

After meeting with several prominent leaders during the excursion, Mason and Reedy Hines experienced first hand the Chinese saying: “The first time we meet we are strangers, the second time we meet we are good friends, the third time we meet we will be old friends.”  Gallaudet and BUU have achieved the second level in their relationship, and members of each school look forward to becoming old friends.


17 February 2011


Recent Posts

Roberto E. Wirth, E-’74 & H-’09, passed away on June 5 in Rome, Italy. Mr. Wirth was owner and managing director of the Hotel Hassler in Rome, one of the most prestigious family-owned hotels in the world, and owned several other hotels and resorts throughout Italy. He was a strong advocate for deaf people in...

Alumnus Timel Benton has signed a contract with the Bay Area Panthers of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Benton, who graduated last month, is the first Gallaudet Bison to sign a professional football contract since Tony Tatum signed on with the Utah Blaze in the now-disbanded Arena Football League (AFL) in May 2013. Benton was...

James Caverly, ’11, who plays Theo Dimas in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, will play Professor Harold Hill in the Olney Theatre Center’s summer production of Meredith Willson’s Tony-winning musical The Music Man, which opens tonight and runs through July 23. The show’s official opening is on Thursday, June 23. Sandra Mae Frank, ’13,...

About the Author

Gallaudet University

Published Articles: 849

Recent Posts
Deaf hotelier Roberto Wirth passes away
Alumnus Timel Benton to play professional football
Alumni, faculty featured in The Music Man at Olney Theatre Center
Related Categories
Media Inquiries

For any other media inquiry, please contact:

No media contact found!

Stay up to date on all the Gallaudet happenings, both stories and initiatives we are doing with our Signing community!​

Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate