By: Sean Luster, MBA candidate
The 10th annual China Town Hall event took place on October 18, 2016 in over 80 venues across the United States, China and Hong Kong. This year was the first time a forum was held in Boise, and Boise State University was a proud host. Students, faculty and community members packed the Skaggs Hall of Learning in the Micron Business and Economics Building to learn more about the past, present and future of relations between the U.S. and China.
The evening began with a live webcast of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a critical figure in cultivating a China-U.S. relationship in the early 1970’s. Kissinger commented on his early experiences working with China and talked about where he sees the relationship going in the near future. Kissinger has had experience with all five generations of leaders of the People’s Republic of China, which started in 1949, and he has played a crucial role in making policy decisions with White House administrations, regardless of political party. The webcast was moderated by National U.S. China Relations Committee President Stephen Orlins.
At the Boise venue after the Kissinger webcast, Stephen Yates, the Idaho Republican Party Chairman who speaks Mandarin, shared his China experiences. Yates said that U.S.-China relations policy has not changed in 50 years and new policies will be necessary for the countries to be successful in the 21st century.
A panel of Boise professionals joined Yates on stage to discuss Idaho-China relations with audience participation. Panel members were Jack Marr, international business professor and event organizer; Garry Wenske, director of the Frank Church Institute; and Bryant Jones, director of external affairs for the Boise State School of Public Service.
The night concluded with a social hour where attendees were able to interact with each other and the knowledgeable members of the panel.