USCET Receives Ford and Luce Foundation Grants

[WASHINGTON D.C.] The US-China Education Trust (USCET), a longtime leader in educational programs and exchanges that promote understanding between the people of the United States and China, has received two major grants to support its core work and expansion into new areas.  

“USCET is honored to receive support from both the Ford Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation as we approach our 25th anniversary,” said Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, USCET’s founding president and Executive Chair. “This show of confidence comes at a critical time and will significantly strengthen USCET’s capacity to move into our next chapter under new leadership, and our efforts to raise Asian American visibility in US-China relations through the stories of Asians in America in their own words.” 

“USCET has played a distinctive role for more than two decades, from supporting American Studies in China to promoting understanding of Asian Americans’ contributions to America. The Ford Foundation is pleased to provide institutional support as USCET continues to deepen nuanced understanding between the US and China during this difficult period in US-China relations” said Elizabeth Knup, regional director for the Ford Foundation. 

USCET’s work on Asians in America began ten years ago as it brought a series of award-winning Asian-American authors to China. The Asian American focus expanded to include artists, filmmakers, and its current series on Asian Women Trailblazers. As Asian Americans have found themselves caught in the crossfire of US-China rivalry and anti-Asian hate, support from the Luce Foundation will enable USCET to add new programs on the experiences of Asians in America, members of the Asian diaspora, and Chinese students in the United States.  

“We are pleased to support the US-China Education Trust’s project Asian Americans and Asians in America: Raising Voices and Visibility,” notes Helena Kolenda, Program Director for Asia at the Luce Foundation. “USCET has long worked to promote good US-China relations. This new project looks more intentionally at the intersection between international and domestic concerns. It furthers the Luce Foundation’s aims to foster communication and build trust between Americans and Asians in order to promote peace, and to enhance understanding of Asian American and Asian diaspora experiences in the United States.” 

In March 2022, Madelyn C. Ross joined USCET as its new president, following a lifetime of work involving US-China relations with a focus on education. “We are grateful for Ford and Luce Foundation support at this time, to validate our mission and allow us to go forward on strong footing when the space for interaction between the US and China is shrinking,” added Ross.  

Ambassador Bloch conceived of the US-China Education Trust while a visiting professor at the Institute of International Relations at Peking University in the late 1990s. After a 25-year career in public service during which she rose to become the first Asian-American ambassador in US history, Bloch saw a need for more nuanced understanding of America, and worked to strengthen American Studies programs in China to address that gap. She worked with Chinese academic institutions to support collaborations with American specialists and academic institutions. In the early 2000s, she launched USCET’s American Studies Network and its Media Education Consortium, organizing conferences, workshops, and exchanges in China. From these beginnings, the US-China Education Trust has developed a broad range of programs that build knowledge, exchange, and dialogue between US and Chinese individuals and academic institutions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, USCET has been able to pivot to virtual platforms for many of its programs while also adding new programming and new audiences. The Ford and Luce grants are essential to these efforts.