LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — On February 17, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited the International Studies Learning Center (ISLC), a public middle and high school in South Gate, California, within the Los Angeles Unified School District. ISLC, whose student body is 99 percent Hispanic, is a member of the Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network. The two vice presidents met with ISLC students who are studying Mandarin, and Chinese students on an exchange program at ISLC, and encouraged them to strengthen further our two countries’ people-to-people ties.

In conjunction with this visit, the U.S. Department of State announced new private sector pledges and events in support of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, which seeks to increase the number and diversify the composition of Americans studying in China.

* New Funding for Americans Promoting Study Abroad: Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA) is a non-profit that sends U.S. public high school students from underserved communities to study in China. With the support of the Initiative, APSA will receive more than $500,000 to expand its programs from Corning, Motorola Mobility, the foundation and the Roche Family Foundation. The Bank of China also independently pledged $315,000 to send additional students to China with APSA. Together, these grants will help send more than 100 American public high school students to study in China.

* $350,000 in New Pledges from Wanxiang: Since January 2011, Wanxiang Group has independently pledged $4.5 million to programs that support the Initiative’s goals, including for the Chicago Public School System, Northwestern University, and the University of Michigan. New grants pledged this week include $150,000 to the Committee of 100, which will send teachers from the San Francisco Bay area on a study tour in China, and $200,000 to ISLC to send students from Los Angeles County to China this summer.

* foundation Honors 100,000 Strong: At its inaugural Trans4m concert, which brought together leaders in the entertainment, technology, and philanthropy sectors for an evening of music, the foundation, led by The Black Eyed Peas frontman, honored the Initiative and encouraged others to enhance educational opportunities for underserved youth. serves as a cultural ambassador for the Initiative.