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China Institute Commits to Sustainable Schools | January 2009


Virginia Kamsky (l) and Sarah McCalpin Present Check to Rick Schulberg and Elizabeth Economy


Temporary Classroom - Long Term Hope


Lunch Outdoors


New Friends

The China-U.S. Center’s program to build sustainable schools in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake received a landmark endorsement and support today from the China Institute in America with the announcement of a $750,000 donation from their China Relief Fund.

The China Institute’s Chair, Virginia Kamsky, and President, Sarah Judge McCalpin, presented the ceremonial check to China US Center’s Board Member, Dr. Elizabeth Economy, and US Secretariat Executive Director, Rick Schulberg, at an informal gathering in New York. In making the donation, Sarah Judge McCalpin, who is also the Co-chair of the Institute’s China Relief Fund, stated: “We are extremely pleased to be able to support this innovative China-U.S. initiative to rebuild schools in Sichuan. By addressing the educational and safety needs of children in the context of environmentally sound design concepts, the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development’s international volunteer team will profoundly improve the learning environment for children in Sichuan province.”

The Rebuilding Schools Sustainably program was developed by the Center following the May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake that destroyed or severely damaged over 7,000 schools and displaced millions of school children in Sichuan and neighboring provinces in China. The donation will assist in the construction of a school incorporating safe and sustainable design features. The experience from designing and constructing the school will be evaluate for other rebuilding efforts.

Dr. Wayne Lei, Chairman of the Center’s US Secretariat, stated: “It is truly an honor that the China Institute has chosen the Center for this generous donation. The China Institute is the oldest and most highly respected educational and cultural bridge between the United States and China. With this support, we are now ready to move forward with the first school. We hope this leadership will encourage others to join in this important initiative.”

The initiative is supported by China’s ministries of Science and Technology and Housing and Urban-Rural Development. Tongji University in Shanghai is a key member of the collaborative design team. The international team includes a group of innovative U.S. architects, engineers and energy specialists who have committed their services to develop seismically safe and sustainable design concepts for the schools’ program.

Launched on May 28, 2008, the China Relief Fund is a global fund raising effort addressing the Sichuan earthquake victims’ immediate humanitarian requirements, and is co-chaired by Sara Judge McCalpin, Wilbur L. Ross, Chairman and CEO of WL Ross & Co., and Lakshmi Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal.

The China Institute, founded in 1926, is the oldest bicultural organization in the United States focused on advancing a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, business and art in the belief that cross-cultural understanding strengthens our global community.

The China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development is a public-private partnership that conducts projects and training with the aim of putting sustainable principles into practice. For more information, visit www.chinauscenter.org. To join in support of the Rebuilding Sichuan Schools Sustainably program, please contact Joe Marcotte (1-503-279-9383) in the US.