Since 2004, the National Committee has been selecting twelve graduating U.S. high school seniors who have received national recognition for their accomplishments to participate in the yearly U.S.-China Student Leaders Exchange. For the young American participants, the heart of the program is a two-week study visit to China during the summer between high school and college. Americans participants learn about China's successes and challenges and have unusual opportunities to meet and exchange ideas with their Chinese counterparts as a consequence of homestays throughout most of the program.
The National Committee first worked with Yang Jiechi in 1977, when, at age 27, he accompanied a Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs delegation as its interpreter. Rising through the foreign affairs ranks, Yang has continued to be involved in our programs, as Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. (2001-05), Foreign Minister (2007-13), and now State Councilor (2013-present).