The Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford (FACES) is an international organization based at Stanford University, representing a global network of professionals, scholars, and leaders who are shaping their respective fields in the United States and China.
We believe that the US-China relationship is built by people. We believe that the differences that divide us – as people and as nations – with mistrust and misunderstanding, can be transformed through intellectual, academic, and interpersonal exchange; that we can inspire and empower a new generation to take these differences as a source of strength and creativity, and to take the building of the US-China relationship as their lifelong endeavor.
Since 2001, our beliefs have motivated us to organize numerous events in the two countries. Every year, we select forty promising delegates from around the world to attend our Annual Conference in Stanford and China. Through these events, we seek to establish a FACES network. Our eminent speakers, partners, and over 800 alumni are making their impact on US-China relations in a variety of fields.
Letter from Advisor
Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor in Chinese Politics, Director of the Stanford China Program, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institutes, and Director of Stanford Center at Peking University. She has been an advisor to FACES since its founding in 2001.
Dear FACES Community and Friends,
Having advised FACES since it was established twelve years ago, it has been my pleasure to watch it grow in size and stature to become the preeminent student run group dedicated to bettering US-China understanding. FACES, true to its mission, has forged lasting relationships amongst the next generation of U.S.-China leaders, who will come to shape global relations between the two countries – in areas varying from politics, to technology, and business.
FACES was founded shortly after the Hainan Island spy plane incident in 2001. Since then, China has become increasingly important on the global stage. Rarely does a day go by without China related stories in US newspapers. Simultaneously, China’s relationship with the United States is being defined by new complexities. It is for this reason that the mission of FACES is so important, and has become ever more relevant. While we have made progress in the past ten plus years, both in increasing productive dialogue regarding U.S.-China relations and in facilitating the relationships that will define it, a key role remains for FACES.
Like the US-China relationship, FACES, as an organization, is evolving. It is impressive to see how the current FACES leaders have worked to create new and more effective ways to foster interaction between students from China and the United States, adopting new formats and technologies. Such efforts will allow FACES to remain a crucial bridge for understanding between future leaders of the United States and China.
You should be proud of your accomplishments and continue the FACES tradition of aiming high and doing even more in the future.
Jean C. Oi
Letter from Co-Presidents
Dear Members of the FACES Community,
Fifteen years ago, FACES was founded to forge a new model of track 3 diplomacy. At a time when person-to-person exchanges between China and the United States were almost non-existent, this organization built a conference where students from both nations could stand on common ground: where they could meet as people, and leave as friends.
In those fifteen years, much has changed. Today, there are boundless opportunities for travel between the US and China, there are millions of students engaged in long- and short-term exchanges. The web of relationships connecting our nations from across the Pacific has grown and developed, and FACES is changing alongside it.
Yet those fifteen years also testify to what it still the same. They are a testimony to the enduring importance of the FACES mission, which through a decade and a half of profound shifts on the world stage and through generations of FACES delegates and student leaders, has remained at its core unchanged. While the scope and scale of US-China exchanges have had extraordinary growth, FACES continues to facilitate exchanges of a depth and intimacy that are rarely if ever matched.
Our organization’s greatest strength lies in that we do not only build connections; we build community. And our team’s newest additions to the Annual Conference are also in many ways the most traditional. We designed “By the Book” and “Beyond the Conference” sessions, creating spaces for delegates to share their pasts and explore their futures, together. We completely remodeled last year’s Parallel Forums to fluidly combine outstanding academic programming with profound personal reflection. These events represent our team’s efforts to re-center the conference around the extraordinary young student delegates who travel from all across the globe to attend it.
As we look back at almost fifteen years of FACES history and at another FACES Conference at Stanford, we are also looking forward. Today, the FACES community extends far beyond the Annual Conference. FACES alumni remain our most enduring source of guidance and inspiration, and in recent years have been a growing source of financial support as well. We strive to return this support: in addition to the countless spontaneous, self-organized gatherings in our alumni community, our team is partnering with Alumni Representatives to host more formal gatherings -- a chance for alumni to connect with friends outside of their immediate circle, and to make a truly intergenerational alumni community. Our team is also developing an Alumni Portal for the FACES Website that will allow alumni to search for people and events in our global community.
Last year, FACES received sponsorship from Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI), one of the world’s foremost institutes for research on international issues. Our team transitioned to an online platform for coordination and collaboration, unifying the work across the Stanford team and the FACES Chapters at Peking University, Zhejiang University, Renmin University, and Fudan University in China.
Hosting the 2016 FACES Annual Conference will be a new opportunity to reflect upon our mission and values. For us, this report is a record of the inspiring creativity that this year’s FACES team and delegates invested in the fall conference. And more than that, it is a promise that the institutions we strive to construct will carry this organization forward through another fifteen years, whatever they may bring, at its core unchanged.
With deep thanks, warmly yours
Qitong Cao & James Garth