Third Annual International Emerging Leaders - Asia Program Begins

Collegiate School welcomed 12 students from our partner school in Yangzhou, China, today to join 11 of our seniors for the 3rd Annual International Emerging Leaders (IEL) - Asia program.
During IEL - Asia, participants from Collegiate and from the Beijing New Oriental Foreign Language School will examine the economic ties between the U.S. and China, while also exploring the two nations’ current political, cultural and ethical issues. The program taking place at Collegiate runs from Jan. 18-24, and from March 18-25, the Collegiate students will travel to China.

This morning, a panel of area business leaders met with the 23 students to discuss U.S.-Chinese economic relations. The panelists included Ralph Cummins, Executive Director for the Customer Experience at CapTech; Bonnie Girard, President of China Channel Limited; and Quentin Yan, Senior Manager/Director of Asia-Pacific Market Development in paper solutions strategy and business development at WestRock.

The panelists spoke of their current business dealings with China and how they foresee changes going forward between the two countries. All three were hopeful of the future and encouraged the students to learn as much as they could from each other during this unique program.

The rest of this week, students will break into six teams and participate in the design thinking process to develop solutions to the economic issues facing China and the U.S. Next week, the students will take part in a forum with Collegiate students enrolled in AP Chinese and AP Environmental Science. On Jan. 24, they will present their team solutions to a panel of local business leaders, parents and Collegiate staff members. After the group presentations, the panelists will provide constructive feedback.

“The cross-cultural communication and collaboration skills our students gain through this type of real-world learning are key to their future ability to thrive in the global and diverse worlds of both college and their future work environments,” said Clare Sisisky, Collegiate’s Director of Responsible Citizenship Initiative and Director of Strategic Planning.

While in Richmond, the students are staying with Collegiatehost families and experiencing life at the School as they participate in this year’s Chinese New Year celebration, cheer at a basketball game and visit area universities.

“The IEL - Asia program offers an unparalleled experience, in which students are able to discuss relations with Chinese students both at Collegiate and abroad,” said Collegiate senior Price Withers. “Learning about global relations is increasingly important in a globally connected world, and international students offer a unique perspective.”
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