The Silk Road to the Future Program

Phase I

The Silk Road to the Future program has been an eight-year long joyous event created and sponsored by the Legends of China Foundation as a celebration of international friendship and goodwill between college students from the most prestigious U.S. and Chinese universities. Initiated in 2001 when hundreds of U.S. students first traveled to Beijing as invitees of the Legends of China Foundation, the Silk Road to the Future program grew to include ever more universities and students during each summer from 2001 through 2008. In 2008, upwards of 10,000 U.S. and Chinese university students, faculty, and staff have participated in this program.

Silk, naturally enough, is the central symbol of the Silk Road to the Future. This program draws its theme from the ancient Silk Road trade route that facilitated early cross cultural communication between China and Europe during the time of Macro Polo some 1,000 years ago. The broad student participation in this unique international immersion program has symbolized the weaving together of modern cultural threads into a beautiful fabric of unity that will bond our two nations as we continue into the 21st century.

The Silk Road Banner

Every year, students taking part in the Silk Road to the Future, Chinese and American alike, have each created a piece of silk artwork focusing upon World Peace. Stitched together, they now form an ever-lengthening banner comprised of more than 10,000 silk pieces created by 10,000 U.S. and Chinese students and educators. This special banner was on exhibit in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Exhibition for the whole world to see.

In 2009, the Silk Road to the Future banner began going global. Just as the program’s first milestone was to unfurl a 10,000-piece banner symbolically matching the length of the Great Wall of China, our program will now stretch beyond China to achieve a new global significance by setting a new banner-length goal of 40,076 silk pieces. This new banner will represent the circumference of the earth’s equator—the distance around our globe!

Phase II

As we close out the second decade of the 21st century, the notion of globalization has become an established fact in many spheres of our lives. Today, our world is smaller, and as the emerging information technologies penetrate our daily life, our growing interdependence will become ever more evident.

In higher education, both in the United States and in China, we are asking the question, “What will the global leaders and organizations of the future look like?” We began examining these questions with our first 2008 International Summit meeting: “China-U.S.-Canada Student Mental Health Summit: Student Mental Health—The Rising International Crisis”, held in Beijing.

The themes of the Phase II programs focus on the impacts of globalization on higher education. Each year, future leaders from all over the world will gather in China and the United States for the well-established tradition of the silk banner award ceremony, and to participate in our unique Future Leader conferences focused on critical worldwide issues. Our aim is to bring university students, faculty, and staff to share their perspectives, ideas, visions, voices, and solutions on “Globalization and Higher Education.” The 40,076 foot long banner will become the living testimony of our future leaders and program ambassadors’ voices for a better world and a better future.

Contact us when you are interested in our Silk Road to the Future program.