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Are you one of the 200,000 American students studying Mandarin Chinese? Compare that to estimates of 300 to 400 million Chinese students studying English. President Barack Obama announced an initiative in September to increase that number to one million by 2020.

“If our countries are going to do more together around the world, then speaking each other’s language, truly understanding each other, is a good place to start,” Obama said at the joint press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

President Obama’s program will be administered by the nonprofit 100,000 Strong Foundation and promises to build a new generation of international leaders who will engage with China effectively.

Travis Tanner, senior vice-president and chief operating officer at the 100,000 Strong Foundation, says the initiative will “ensure our trade relationship with China continues to benefit the American economy, and that the future generation of American entrepreneurs, business owners, journalists, engineers, scientists, doctors, as well as government officials at both the national and state levels, understand China.”

Best of luck to all new Mandarin students in the coming years!

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