4th Annual CIUS Center National Honors Gala

September 14, 2019

Pushing Forward: Local Initiative, Global Impact, Lifelong Community

As the climate surrounding the value of US-China educational and cultural exchanges remains challenging, it is now more important than ever to promote mutual understanding within our global community.

On September 14, 2019 educators, business professionals, community leaders, and political representatives from across the country joined us in celebrating the inspiring stories of our 2019 People-to-People Award Honorees and showed thier support for the immeasurable value of educational and cultural exchanges.

While sharing her own experience as a student who moved to the United States, Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, African Union Ambassador to the United States said,

“Through their exchanges, America has raised a young girl from being a teenager, to being a medical doctor, to being a mother, to being a wife, to being an Ambassador representing 55 African countries. This is what people-to-people [exchanges] can do.”


Pushing Forward

With misconceptions about the Confucius Institute program being shared consistently in news cycles, this year’s Gala speakers reaffirmed their support for their local Confucius Institutes and highlighted the profound impact of their work. Dr. Robbyn Wacker, President of St. Cloud State University, said,

“Our mission and strategic plans specifically direct our educational endeavors to ensure that students will be able to engage as members of a diverse, multicultural world.  At St. Cloud State our Confucius Institute is a vitally important way that we make good on this educational promise.”

Jerrad Solberg, St. Cloud State University student and 2019 Honoree, echoed Dr. Wacker’s remarks and as described in his winning essay, Jerrad shared that despite being born with cerebral palsy, the Confucius Institute helped him achieve his dream of traveling to China – an experience that has shaped his educational and professional career.

This year’s honorees, ranging in age from 9 to 78, have each benefited from active engagement through their Confucius Institutes and represent the diversity of Chinese language learners from across the country. With more than 530 institutes around the world, the Confucius Institute program is among the most diverse on the planet. Dr. Dan Mote, President of the National Academy of Engineering and founder of the first Confucius Institute affirmed the importance of the program by sharing simply “…that with the program’s unique history, it is truly amazing.”

Keynote Speakers

Thank you to our 2019 sponsors for your generous support!


For more information about the CIUS Center National Honors Gala and event sponsorship opportunities, please contact Erik Eging, Director of External Communications, erik.eging@ciuscenter.org, 202-864-6483.