TAMIU Student, Alum Selected for US-China Project, Travel to Harvard
Posted: 10/23/14

TAMIU Student, Alum Selected for US-China
Project, Travel to Leadership Summit at Harvard

A current Texas A&M International University undergraduate and recent TAMIU graduate were selected out of hundreds of applicants from across the country to serve as Project Pengyou Leadership Fellows in the Fall of 2014.

Leslie D. Martínez and Jorge Dimas (’13) were named Leadership Fellows and traveled to Cambridge, MA over Columbus Day weekend for a US-China Leadership Training Summit at Harvard University. 

Leslie D. Martínez and Jorge Dimas

Project Pengyou (“friend” in Mandarin Chinese) is a program of the Golden Bridges Foundation and dedicated to empowering and mobilizing a new generation of US-China bridge-builders to serve, inspire and transform lives. The program was conceived as the alumni network of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, a presidential campaign that sent 100,000 Americans to study in China. 

Martínez and Dimas joined other Fellows for four active learning days at Harvard University covering leadership, community organizing and U.S.-China bridge-building. Since returning to Laredo after the Summit, both have committed to apply their new skills to establishing a Project Pengyou Chapter at TAMIU.

They plan to build a leadership team to organize campus activities that promote China study abroad and build bridges between American and Chinese people. They will also provide opportunities for local chapter members to develop leadership skills and participate in "pay it forward" projects in their community. Project Pengyou Chapters across the country are preparing a massive nationwide day of action on “Pengyou Day,” Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, to celebrate US-China friendship.

Despite China's importance as the U.S.’s fastest growing trade partner, few Americans study Mandarin or travel to China. In 2013, just one in 1,000 U.S. college students studied abroad in China. Currently, 12 times more Chinese study in America than Americans study in China.

In 2011, the Golden Bridges Foundation was invited by the U.S. Department of State to strengthen US-China relations by building a global alumni network of Americans who had lived or studied in China.

The program was launched as "Project Pengyou" to connect and train active global leaders who can harness the growth of China and lead a more functional, mutually beneficial and peaceful future for both the United States and China.

The Fall 2014 Project Pengyou Leadership Training Summit was made possible by the support of the Ford Foundation and the Committee of 100, a prominent network of Chinese-American leaders. 

To learn more about TAMIU Study Abroad and International programs, contact Triana González, associate director for International Engagement, division of Student Success, at 956.326.2565, email triana.gonzalez@tamiu.edu, or visit offices in the Student Center, room 226.

Find out more about Project Pengyou at www.projectpengyou.org

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu