The Chao Family Talks about US-China Relations

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The Chao Family Talks about US-China Relations


Angela Chao, her father Dr. James S.C. Chao and Sister Elaine Chao, Talk About US-China Relations

Angela Chao joined her father, Dr. James S.C. Chao and sister, The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, for a lively discussion on a topic of immense importance. Sponsored by the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, the Chao family discussed the growing relationship between the US and China, their efforts to enhance Sino-US cross-cultural understanding and dialogue, and their own experience with personally embracing two cultures. The discussion was moderated by Paul Haenle and Shi Zhiqin.

On the topic of strengthening the bilateral relationship between the US and China, the Chao family suggested that a very powerful tool is exchange programs, where people can come face to face, learn from each other and build bridges between the two nations. Angela Chao said that she advises young students to involve themselves in the expanding cultural relationships between the US and China, telling them that “building bridges starts with us, one person at a time.”

Cross-cultural bridges is a familiar topic for the Chao family, as they are a living example of embracing two very different cultures. Dr. Chao gave credit to the education he received in his native China, which, coupled with a rich Chinese heritage, enabled him to be successful. He said that he cautioned his daughters against abandoning their Chinese roots when embracing the culture of America, and advised them to hold onto the gems in each instead. Angela Chao said that this principle rings particularly true in today’s globalized world. It is important, she said, to be proficient in one’s own country and at the same time be competent in and capable of performing within the culture of another country. She also suggested that each person can be a sort of cultural ambassador as they interact across borders, by passionately sharing their own cultural upbringing with others and thereby expanding understanding between people.

The Chao family discussed their family’s philanthropy and life-long commitment to educational excellence as the primary vehicle for success in life. Elaine Chao pointed out that their family foundation has funded numerous educational initiatives in both America and China, such as early childhood education programs and the construction of kindergartens in Shanghai and Anhui Province.

Overall, the Chao family observed that the future of the world will be significantly shaped by successful interactions between China and America, especially in the economic arena. Angela Chao described Sino-US ties as “the most important bilateral relationship in the world.” This sentiment was echoed by Elaine Chao, who noted that she has witnessed first-hand the tremendous strides in economic growth occurring in China; something that all expect will only continue. Angela Chao continued by stressing the importance of bilateral understanding in order to remove doubts and fears about China from the minds of people from other cultures.

The Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy brings diverse groups of policymakers together to discuss how to improve collaboration between China and other nations.