In the waning years of the Cold War, the United States and China began to cautiously engage in cultural, educational, and policy exchanges, which in turn strengthened new security and economic ties. These links have helped shape the most important bilateral relationship in the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
This book explores the dynamics of cultural exchange through an in-depth historical investigation of three organizations at the forefront of U.S.-China non-governmental relations: the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies, the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and The 1990 Institute. Norton Wheeler reveals the impact of American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on education, environment, fiscal policy, and civil society in contemporary China. In turn, this book illuminates the important role that NGOs play in complementing formal diplomacy and presents a model of society-to-society relations that moves beyond old debates over cultural imperialism. Finally, the book highlights the increasingly significant role of Chinese Americans as bridges between the two societies.
Based on extensive archival research and interviews with leading American and Chinese figures, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Chinese politics and history, international relations and transnational NGOs.