U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am on Friday to discuss support for President Obama's 100,000 Strong Initiative, an effort to increase the number and diversity of American students studying in China. After the meeting, the State Department announced that will.i.am will direct a concert in Beijing later this year to promote the initiative.
“In order to become responsible global citizens, young people need to experience the world around them,” will.i.am said in a statement released by the State Department. “Kids from underserved communities rarely have the opportunity to study and travel abroad, and we want to change that. We must make sure that American students have the cultural awareness and skills necessary to succeed in a global economy.”
The concert, which will feature performances by both American and Chinese pop stars, is being organized by Americans Promoting Study Abroad, "a group that gives scholarships to underprivileged American students to study abroad," according to Foreign Policy. Funds raised by the concert will be used "to support and operate study abroad programs in China for underserved American students," according to the State Department.
Obama announced the 100,000 Strong Initiative in November 2009, and it was officially launched by Secretary Clinton in May 2010 in Beijing. In a show of support for the program, the Chinese government has so far offered 20,000 scholarships for American students to study in the country. The program has also found some success in fundraising -- so far it has raised more than $7 million from private corporations and foundations.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that no date for the will.i.am-directed concert has yet been given, and adds that it will be the pop star's third performance in China.