Kobe Bryant is an international superstar. Bryant, whose popularity in Asia was furthered by his participation in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, has been working to find ways to help American youth better understand the importance of the U.S. - China relationship. To enable this, the basketball superstar’s Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation (KVBFF) has launched Mandarin language and culture programs in conjunction with After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles.
"We are continually grateful to Kobe Bryant for giving the students of After-School All-Stars this incredible cultural opportunity", says the organization’s President and Executive Director, Ana Campos.
"I believe it is important to be well-versed with other cultures," says Campos. "Though unfortunately, due to [our] students’ socioeconomic circumstance, many of them have not had the opportunity to venture far from their inner-city communities. Kobe Bryant has granted students the opportunity to learn about an entirely new culture, which cultivates tolerance, respect and worldliness. This knowledge of acceptance is also important in gang prevention."
Originally launched at three After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles middle schools in the spring of 2010, the Mandarin programs expanded in 2011, and currently exist at seven high schools and one middle school. The programmatic objectives are language acquisition and orientation to Chinese culture. Students also learn the ancient martial art of wushu; the most popular national sport in China. World Champion wushu practitioner, Master Hu Jianqiang is the martial arts program instructor.
For the third consecutive year, 10 ASAS-LA students will have the opportunity to participate in a two week educational tour through China from July 9th-25th, 2013. This unique educational summer tour is made possible through partnerships with the UCLA Confucius Institute, KVBFF and Hublot; with the entire educational ground tour enabled by the Hanban. Thanks to KVBFF, 10 students also experienced the China educational tour in the summers of 2011 and 2012.
The Mandarin programs are in line with the President and First Lady Michelle Obama’s "100,000 Strong Initiative", rooted in the importance of having young people in the United States build relationships with their peers in China and creating a mutual understanding around the world.
Click here to view photos of the 2011 China educational tour.
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