Reflections from Participants in the “Hefner Initiative – USA/China/Asia” 2018 Summer Program

August 7, 2018
By Lucy Carr

Two students from the Webb Schools of California and two students and one counselor from the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics participated in this year’s Hefner Initiative trip to China. The group spent twelve days in Beijing and Suzhou. Highlights of the trip included spending time with host families from Beijing High School No. 4, learning about the history and culture of China at the sites such as the Great Wall of China, the Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City, the Capital Museum, and the Humble Administrator’s Garden, and gaining a better understanding of U.S.-China relations from Dr. Tong Zhao at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center.

“I believe it is imperative that the United States and China work to strengthen communication and build stronger trust between themselves to keep their relationship positive and cooperative.”
-Juliana Base, Hefner Scholar-Webb

“One of the major tourist sites is the Great Wall of China and it was my favorite part of my trip. Although it was a strenuous climb to get to the top when I arrived at the top it was worth it! The views at the top were stunning and again I met people from all over the world.  People were friendly, and we interacted with each other….I still think it is a fascinating country and am hoping that at some point I will return to China and experience more of its rich culture and the hospitality of the people.”
-Jaden Dumont, Hefner Scholar- Webb

“Essential to mitigating further conflict, Dr. Zhao and many other experts on global policy
emphasize the importance to both the United States and China of developing real, in-depth
understanding of each other.
-Cynthia Parish, Hefner Ambassador- OSSM

“I still find that sending the students to the other country to learn is a powerful experience. My two-week visit to the other country taught me so much that I could not have learned in school. So, them coming for college or us going for college can make a huge impact on how we understand each other. We can learn so much about their culture and vice versa.”
-Attaira Prince, Hefner Scholar- OSSM

“Through exchanges such as these, I believe that both Americans and Chinese people can understand how as two extremely powerful nations we need not pose threats to one another. Even if our current leaders might see each other as enemies. it is my hope that our educated and informed leaders of tomorrow can help shift the direction of our relationship to one of partnership.”
-Alejandro Lozano-De Aos, Hefner Scholar-OSSM

The Robert & MeiLi Hefner Foundation Announces the "Hefner Initiative – USA/ China/ Asia” 2018 Scholars and Ambassadors

April 2, 2018
By Lucy Carr

The Robert & MeiLi Hefner Foundation is pleased to announce that the 2018 Hefner Scholars are Alejandro Lozano-De Aos and Attaira Prince from the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics and Juliana Base and Jaden Dumont from The Webb Schools. The 2018 Hefner Ambassador is Cynthia Parish, the College Counselor at OSSM.

The "Hefner Initiative - USA/ China/ Asia” 2018 program comprises an approximately 10-day cultural experience in Beijing and Suzhou, China. The trip will consist of six days spent in Beijing, during which the Hefner Scholars will stay with host families of students from Beijing High School No. 4, experiencing daily life in China firsthand. The group will explore the ancient city’s landmarks such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, the Ming Tombs, and the Summer Palace. The group will then take a bullet train to Suzhou, a small city known for its beautiful architecture and gardens, which will allow the Scholars and Ambassadors to learn about a different dimension of Chinese culture. After their return, the Scholars and Ambassadors will write a post-trip essay and give a presentation to their community, in order to spread the knowledge they have gained on the trip and promote the importance of peaceful and cooperative relations between the two countries.

Hefner Scholars from Beijing High School No. 4 Visit the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

March 29, 2018
By Lucy Carr

Five students from Beijing High School No. 4 spent three weeks studying at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics as part of the 2018 “Hefner Initiative USA/ China/ Asia.” This year’s Hefner Scholars were Cloris Zhang, Cynthia Li, Julia Wen, Leo Xu, and Steven Chen. They stayed in the dorms at OSSM, attended classes and participated in school activities, as well as enjoying special outings to learn about the history and culture of Oklahoma.

This year’s program included tours of the Oklahoma History Center, Norman North High School, Oklahoma City Community College’s Film & Video Department, the University of Oklahoma campus, the Sam Noble Museum, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The Hefner Scholars also enjoyed a performance of the musical “School of Rock,” hosted by OSSM Principal Dr. Frank Wang. Hefner Scholar Leo Xu wrote of his experiences, "Prior to this trip, I had only blurry ideas about this relationship [between the U.S. and China] due to my lack of understanding about American culture. It’s not that I knew too little about the U.S, since I have taken American history courses and been to America before. But none of them provided me with an opportunity to truly experience American culture. That’s why this trip funded by Hefner Foundation was such a significant step in understanding America for me. Going to a real American high school, attending American classes and chatting with American teenagers are among the best ways to understand this culture.”

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