Pearl S. Buck International partnered with the Pearl S. Buck Museum in Zhenjiang, China to give eight high school students from Souderton Area High School, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and ten high school students from Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China the resources, support and training needed to work collaboratively to explore cultural stereotypes in the media and popular culture. Defining Culture in Popular Culture is part of the Museums Connect program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State. Administered by the American Alliance of Museums, Museums Connect pairs museums in the U.S. with museums abroad for a cross-cultural exchange that brings people, especially youth, together through community projects that address important topics, such as women’s empowerment and environmental protection, among others.
“The goals of this project are to inspire students to recognize how popular culture influences their perceptions of other cultures and to instill in them the leadership and confidence necessary to become activists for change,” explained Teri Mandic, Pearl S. Buck International Vice President for Programs. The program’s agenda and activities provide the students with a deeper understanding and knowledge of a different culture, giving them the skills to creatively express their views and educate others, while preparing them for opportunities to collaborate with people from around the world on future humanitarian projects.
The collaborative work has built a bridge between the American and Chinese students as they actively engage in conversation through a project blog accessible to the community via (www.pearlsbuck.org/definingculture) and through QQ International, an online social media resource.
Students have participated in field trips, conducted community interviews, curated an onsite and online museum exhibition, and designed and implemented two community service projects to champion Ms. Buck’s ideals. Educational workshops throughout the program were co-facilitated by Delaware Valley University students in the United States and Jiangsu University students in China.
Five American students were selected to travel to China. Jonathan Adams, Alicia Bateman, Briana Brady, Clayton Frisbie, and Jarod Olson were notified on April 2nd that they were selected to travel to China from June 19-25, 2015.
During the Chinese students’ visit to the USA April 30 – May 7, both the US and Chinese students shared field trips to see New York City as well as the Philadelphia landmarks that are hallmark to this nation’s founding freedom, like Independence Hall and the liberty bell. The students had an opportunity to share their insight and reflections during a live broadcast on WURD AM radio on Sunday, May 3.
All students actively worked together to develop the trip itineraries that best reflect the experience of being a high school student in each country while also designing a community service project to implement during their respective visits. The Chinese and US students coordinated a food drive benefitting the Keystone Opportunity Center in Souderton the first week of May.
“We are very excited to uphold Pearl S. Buck’s legacy of bridging east and west and fostering cultural understanding by launching the Defining Culture project with Chinese students.” Janet L. Mintzer, President and CEO said. “This project has proven to not only benefit the students in the program, but has influenced the overall community as the participants become active citizens who stand up to cultural stereotypes in the media and popular culture.”
About Pearl S. Buck International -Pearl S. Buck International® provides opportunities to explore and appreciate other cultures, builds better lives for children around the globe and promotes the legacy of our founder by preserving and interpreting her National Historic Landmark home.
About Zhenjiang Pearl S. Buck Museum -The Mission of Zhenjiang Pearl S. Buck Museum is to promote the legacy of Pearl S. Buck, including her achievements in literature such as her Nobel Prize, her spirit of universal love, her affection towards the Chinese people, and her role as a human bridge connecting the east and the west.
About Museums Connect- Museums Connect is a joint initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the American Alliance of Museums. Since its inception, Museums Connect has linked American Museums in 26 states, plus the District of Columbia with partners abroad in 45 countries.
Media Contact – Teri Mandic, VP of Programs, 215-249-0100 x.113 or firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTSSouderton Business Improvement District Five Dollar Giveback Program