When the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank announced in Dec. 2014, that China had surpassed the U.S. as the world’s leading economy, based on their respective citizens’ real purchasing power (Purchasing Power Parity), it was a real wake-up call for western economists and U.S. government leaders. By 2030, China is expected to emerge as the world’s No. 1 economy with a 7% annual economic growth rate compared to the U.S.’ 2% growth. 

Wilson Global Communications has been working in the China marketplace for seven years, managing various relationship-building projects with the China-United States Exchange Foundation, and an international student study initiative with 1,400 scholarships funded by the Chinese Ministry of Education for American students to study in China. More than 500 American students from 43 Historically Black Colleges & Universities and 49 Congressional Black Caucus districts have traveled to China to become “globalized scholars” by studying in major Chinese universities in several cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.  Another 500 students are slated to benefit from that international educational experience, tuition free, this summer through 2018. In addition to a classroom-structured curriculum taught by renowned Chinese professors, the under-served American students are exposed to cultural and historical outings to places like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Chinese opera. 

Education USA hosts Chinese students and parents at the U.S. Embassy; above Florida State University’s president Roslyn Artis makes a presentation in Beijing

As a part of an ongoing education initiative to help support and ensure American students are better positioned to compete in this globalized world, Wilson Global worked with Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans to establish the first Confucius Institute in Louisiana. Confucius Institutes, of which there are 110 in the U.S. and 500 worldwide, teach Chinese language and culture to students and residents in surrounding communities.

Spelman College students take a paper cutting class at Heilongjiang University in Harbin, China.

For the U.S., investment in international education is critical for American students in developing global skills to “up their game.” Through this education initiative at Wilson Global, we have seen a strong focus on international study as one of the driving factors in China’s ascension to global economic prominence as well. In 2016, there were 974,800 foreign students studying in the U.S., with one of every three foreign students being Chinese.

Lessons learned at Wilson Global of the benefits from international development in education:

1)   Increases Global Competition – Studying in a foreign college or university is more than an academic exercise. Understanding cross-cultural business processes and social mores, finding common ground, and building mutually beneficial relationships to collaborate in the global marketplace is vital for America’s future leaders. 

2)   Helps with America’s Security & Global Standing – Strategic proactive approaches to cross-cultural collaboration helps keep America safe, strong and armed with the knowledge to co-exist while building friendships and business partnerships and collaborations with people from other nations. If the U.S. is to maintain its leadership position in the global economy, we must think and act outside and beyond our traditional local business paradigms and cultural silos.

3)   Enhances People-to-People U.S.-China Relationships – Through interaction between American and Chinese students and teachers, cross-cultural understanding is enhanced – people-to-people. This further contributes to our potential future leaders being better prepared for potential cooperation across cultures.

Small businesses like ours engaged in international development are playing key roles in promoting American values and increasing potential partnerships, positive civic engagement, and business opportunities abroad. While building on the foundation of this education initiative, we’re also contributing to helping maintain America’s # 1 economic standing through competitive education positioning in the world.

Wilson Global Communications, LLC is an international consulting firm specializing in strategic public affairs services and marketing communications program management. We are a SBA 8(a) certified WOSB with experience spanning the U.S. and several countries in Africa, Europe, Brazil and China. Founded in Johannesburg, South Africa by Julia A. Wilson and now based in Washington, D.C., Wilson Global focuses on customized services that develop and bridge cross-cultural and mutually beneficial relationships between international leaders, youth and organizations in education, business, media, and civic affairs. Learn more at www.wilsonglobalcommunications.com