668 The ASHS/People-To-People Mission to China

in HortScience
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The Citizen Ambassador Program was initiated in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded “People to People.” His vast perspective as a military and governmental leader led him to believe that individual citizens reaching out in friendship to the people of other nations could make a significant contribution to world understanding. From 14–28 Aug. 1998, ASHS took part in the “People-to People Mission to China.” Our delegation was composed of six ASHS Members and two guests. Delegates were from Canada and Brazil and the United States. After meeting in Los Angeles for a final briefing, the delegation departed for Hong Kong, where we immediately boarded a flight to Beijing. Our China experience began in Beijing, then on to Hangzhou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. All of these locations are in the densely populated eastern portion of China. (China has approximately the same area as the United States, but it has 1.25 billion people compared to only 270 million in the U.S.) Our time at each location was about equally divided between professional and cultural activities. Our Chinese horticultural colleagues were enthusiastic and well-trained. As in the United States, the quality of the facilities and the equipment varied somewhat among locations. Operating funds, never sufficient for research and maintenance of facilities, commonly were supplemented by sale of horticultural products.