Missouri to host first-ever US-China Youth Leadership Exchange

Student leaders from China will work side-by-side with Missouri’s best and brightest

(ST. LOUIS)  – A group of 37 students from the the People’s Republic of China will arrive in Missouri in mid-June to take part in a nationally acclaimed youth leadership program which has produced prominent leaders for more than 70 years. The American Legion Missouri Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Missouri Girls State will host a delegation of Chinese students at Central Missouri University (UCM) in Warrensburg, Missouri. This groundbreaking international component to the Missouri Boys State and Missouri Girls State programs is called the US-China Youth Leadership Exchange and is being led by the Midwest U.S.-China Association.
“This unprecedented cultural exchange, made possible through the Missouri Boys State and Missouri Girls State programs, serves as a vivid reminder that the youth of today are truly global citizens,” said Bob Holden, former Missouri Governor and Chairman of the MidWest US-China Association. Holden is also an alumnus of Missouri Boys State.
The Chinese youth delegation will arrive in the United States in two groups: 16 boys on June 13th to attend Missouri Boys State, June 15-22; then 21 girls will arrive June 22nd, to participate in Missouri Girls State, June 23-29. The students will arrive in St. Louis and have the opportunity for brief sightseeing stops in Columbia, Kansas City and Jefferson City, in addition to their campus week with their American student colleagues at UCM in Warrensburg.
“The goal of the US-China Youth Leadership Exchange is to foster understanding between American and Chinese students about each other’s community, government and culture and to provide an opportunity for life-long friendships that have the potential to grow into business and government relationships for the future,” Holden added.
The Midwest U.S.-China Association is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that encourages commerce between 12 states in the Midwestern United States and China. The association focuses on government-to-government outreach with corporate and academic support to expand trade and investment in both countries. Organizers of the US-China Youth Leadership Exchange assert that this international dialogue can begin with youth.
“Missouri Boys State is proud and excited to be the conduit for such a fascinating sharing of ideas and world perspective,” said Mike Plunkett, Missouri Boys State Director. “One of our core beliefs is that the individual is the one with the power to change the world. Imagine what great things could come from any one of the individuals who take part in this timely meeting of youthful minds.”
Throughout its 78-year history, Boys State and Girls State programs have shaped some of America’s most remarkable leaders, from Presidents to astronauts, world famous athletes to internationally recognized journalists, entrepreneurs and military leaders.
In Missouri, some 1,400 students are hand-picked each year to attend this summer leadership and citizenship experience between their junior and senior years of high school. This summer, Missouri Boys State and Missouri Girls State will add a decidedly global dimension to the experience.
“It is our hope that this side-by-side leadership development, which is at the heart of the collective Boys State and Girls State mission, will inspire a lasting understanding and thirst for global connectedness and opportunity,” said Natalie Holden Riley, Missouri Girls State Director.
The inaugural US-China Youth Leadership Exchange is the result of a strategic partnership between the Beijing Language and Culture University and the Missouri Boys State and Missouri Girls State programs under the direction of the Midwest U.S.-China Association. The 2013 program is generously supported with principle sponsorships from the University of Central Missouri (UCM), Emerson, and American Airlines. Other financial support and in-kind contributions come from Missouri businesses, Missouri Boys State and Missouri Girls State alumni, educational resources including the Confucius Institutes of Webster University and the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Bloch School of Management, The Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation, plus governnmental agencies including the U.S. Department of State and the American Embassy in China.

US-China Youth Leadership Exchange Preliminary media availability:

  • June 13, St. Louis, 2:00 P.M. –  Lambert Intl. Airport – Male Students Arrival News Conference
  • June 14, Kansas City,  5:30 P.M. – Reception, UMKC Bloch School of Management, Grand Hall, 5110 Cherry St, Kansas City, MO 64110
  • June 15-22, Warrensburg – Male Chinese students attend Missouri Boys State, UCM
  • June 22, St. Louis, 2:00 P.M. – Lambert Intl. Airport – Female Students Arrival News Conference
  • June 23-29, Warrensburg – Female Chinese students attend Missouri Girls State, UCM
Editor’s note: Midwest U.S.-China Association welcomes interviews with organizers and students in St. Louis, Kansas City, Warrensburg and/or Jefferson City. Please contact Jean Whatley at 314.489.5990 or jeanellenwhatley@gmail.com for updates on locations and availability.

Midwest U.S.-China Assc adds “Midwest muscle” with new advisory board

Former Vice-President, Senators, and Governors bring bi-partisan expertise and Midwest know-how to benefit Midwest U.S.-China Association

The Midwest U.S. – China Association (MWCA), a nonprofit, bipartisan organization led by former Missouri Governor Bob Holden is increasing its efforts to champion the 12-state region’s economic promise.  Midwest entities in the public and private sectors looking to do business with China will now benefit from access to the organization’s high profile board of strategic advisers.

The roster includes high profile former Midwest elected officials including: U.S. Vice President, Walter Mondale, Senator Adlai Stevenson, III (IL), Governor Matt Blunt (MO), Governor Chet Culver (IA), Governor Jim Edgar (IL), Governor Bob Taft (OH), and Governor Jim Thompson (IL).

MWCA, which was established in 2004, promotes opportunities for partnership and growth between the 12 Midwestern states and China. The organization stresses its expansive access to Chinese and Midwestern business, government, and political leadership and its focus on creating intentional one-to-one network opportunities between Chinese and U.S. entities and individuals as its core “distinctive service” for its members.

“We invited the strategic advisers to participate with MWCA to ensure that the key interests of all Midwestern states are represented,” shares MWCA Chairman, Governor Holden. “When potential Chinese partners explore the possibilities of doing business with our Midwest members, our advisers offer unmatched expertise, credibility, and access to the best that the region has to offer and help this organization operate in a truly regional way.”

Membership in the Midwest U.S.-China Association is open to businesses, colleges and universities, organizations, municipalities, and individuals.