When Chinese President Xi Jinping sits down to dinner with business leaders and politicians from around the world on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015 in Seattle, Shoreline Community College will be there.
Diana Sampson, Executive Director of International Education at Shoreline, was invited to attend the reception and dinner at the Westin Hotel. The visit is part of President Xi’s first state visit to the U.S., a six-day tour that includes discussions with President Obama in Washington, D.C. At the Seattle dinner, President Xi is expected to deliver a speech on Sino-U.S. relations.
According to news reports, attendees may include chief executives Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, investor Warren Buffet, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Gov. Jay Inslee along with the governors of Oregon, California, Michigan and Iowa. President Xi is expected to bring a large contingent that includes Jack Ma of the e-commerce giant Alibaba and Robin Li of the web-services firm Baidu.
“I couldn’t be more honored,” Sampson said. “On a personal level, I’ve been traveling to China since the 1980s. I’ve lived in China, worked in China and have strong ties to the Chinese community here locally and around the world.
“On a professional level, Shoreline Community College has made a strong commitment to making sure we are preparing our students to be successful in an increasingly globalized world.”
A significant part of that commitment is to make sure that all students have opportunities to learn together and gain an appreciation for a variety of cultures and perspectives, Shoreline President Cheryl Roberts said.
“Shoreline has students from more than 40 countries bringing their rich perspectives and cultures into the life of our campus,” Roberts said. “When we can gain understanding by bringing the world together around education, our students and the communities we serve benefit. Higher education is developing our future leaders in the context of cooperation and how to work in an interconnected world.”
Shoreline recently established a partnership with Hainan Open University and has strong ties with other universities and high schools across China. More than 250 Chinese students are now studying at Shoreline.
Today’s event with President Xi isn’t Shoreline’s first time on the international stage regarding trade and education. Shoreline officials have traveled on foreign trade missions to China with Gov. Inslee and former Gov. Chris Gregoire. Higher education is a prominent part of the state’s foreign trade agenda.
Roberts and Sampson attended the 2014 Boao Forum for Asia in Seattle, a gathering that brings leaders from around world to discuss pressing issues, share perspectives and forge a common agenda. Sampson and Shoreline also participate in the Washington State China Relations Council and the Trade Development Alliance, two Seattle-based organizations with strong ties to business, industry and China.