At the invitation of the National Governors Association (NGA), VIPKid sponsored and participated in the fifth U.S.-China Governors Collaboration Summit hosted by the Governor of Kentucky in Lexington, KY on May 22-24th, 2019. This bilateral, sub-national collaboration was established in 2011 during the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and held its first meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. The summit sought to create an opportunity for lawmakers, businesses, and investors to have conversations on economic development and forge stronger cultural relationships between the United States and China. VIPKid is uniquely positioned to discuss how its business connects the people, teachers and students of the two countries through technology and education. The interest in promoting investment and business opportunities between the two countries was exemplified by the participation of more than 400 representatives during the three-day summit.
Governor Matt Bevin (KY), host governor of the summit, provided opening remarks commemorating the 40th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and China. In his remarks, Governor Bevin noted, “At a time when there is a national dialogue happening between our presidents, between our governments, between our nations, it is critical that we have the kind of dialogue at the sub-national level that is happening in the room next door.” Governor Bevin’s comments and overall sentiment regarding the importance of enhanced relations between the two countries was echoed by several other leaders who gave opening remarks, including Madam LI Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Mayor TANG Liangzhi (Mayor of Chongqing), Ambassador Terry Branstad, the U.S. Ambassador to China and former Governor of Iowa, and CUI Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S.
VIPKid joined the panel session titled, “Building Mutual Trust through Education and Culture.” Brad Farnsworth, Vice President, Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement at the American Council on Education, moderated the discussion which featured Casey Sacks, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges at the U.S. Department of Education, YANG Xinyu, Education Minister Counsellor of the People’s Republic of China Embassy in DC, former Governor of Missouri Bob Holden, Chairman and CEO, U.S. Heartland China Association, and Wenchi Yu, Global Head of Public Policy for VIPKid. The discussion focused on the impact that education and culture have on promoting understanding between the two countries. Former Governor Holden stated, “There is a tremendous amount of interest from the local level in figuring out how we bring these two cultures together.” VIPKid’s innovative platform for online, immersive English learning demonstrates the role that technology and education can have on increasing both educational and cultural familiarity between the people from the two countries.
VIPKid’s presence at the summit extended beyond the panel session. Two VIPKid teachers from Kentucky, Miche Branscum and Denise Lewis, represented VIPKid at its booth. Throughout the day, teachers Miche and Denise fielded questions about VIPKid and their unique experiences teaching on the VIPKid platform. The overall success of the day would not have been possible without these passionate teachers.