I could think of little else after hearing of the China-America Student Conference (ChASC) in a webinar last summer. I researched its origins in International Student Conferences Inc. (ISC), a nonprofit founded as a result of the Japan-American Student Conference (JASC) which began in 1934. At that time, citizens of both countries convened a student-led Conference to establish friendly relations amidst increasing bilateral tension. The Conference has persisted through the challenges and triumphs of the past 86+ years, and ISC now also hosts Korea-America and China-America Student Conferences.
Although my interest in Chinese language and culture began years ago, I realized through researching ISC that many of my early cross-cultural experiences were informed by academic or media perspectives, not by person-to-person connection. I hoped by joining ChASC as an American Delegate to both share my experiences and see beyond my Western lens through the perspectives of the Chinese Delegates.