Monday, May 19, 2014 | 5:30 PM EDT - 5:30 PM EDT

, New York, NY

In the waning years of the Cold War, the United States and China began to cautiously engage in cultural, educational, and policy exchanges, which in turn strengthened new security and economic ties. These links have helped shape the most important bilateral relationship in the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

The Role of American NGOs in China’s Modernization: Invited Influence explores the dynamics of cultural exchange through an in-depth historical investigation of three organizations at the forefront of U.S.-China non-governmental relations: the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies, the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and The 1990 Institute. Norton Wheeler reveals the impact of American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on education, environment, fiscal policy, and civil society in contemporary China. In turn, this book illuminates the important role that NGOs play in complementing formal diplomacy and presents a model of society-to-society relations that moves beyond old debates over cultural imperialism. Finally, the book highlights the increasingly significant role of Chinese Americans as bridges between the two societies.

Based on extensive archival research and interviews with leading American and Chinese figures, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Chinese politics and history, international relations and transnational NGOs.

Norton Wheeler discussed his book at a National Committee program in New York City on May 19, 2014.


Norton Wheeler is associate professor at Missouri Southern State University, where he has taught U.S. and Asian history courses since 2008. Prior to that, for 25 years he worked in manufacturing industries, where he had considerable interaction with East Asia. From 2004-2006, he lived in Nantong, Jiangsu. With a day job of setting up a factory, he also conducted some of the research that resulted in the book, The Role of American NGOs in China's Modernization: Invited Influence.

Dr. Wheeler received his B.A. from the University of Iowa and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.

Politics & Foreign Relations

  • INTERVIEW | Norton Wheeler on the Role of American NGOs in China’s Modernization
  • Politics & Foreign Relations

    Recorded 5/19/2014