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The Ford Foundation Supports the Carter Center’s New Africa-China-U.S. Trilateral Initiative

Featured November 2019


Since 1983, The Carter Center has proudly partnered with the Ford Foundation in support of the Center’s conflict resolution and access to information work, and in tandem with its regional programs in China, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In most recent years, the Foundation has focused its commitment solely to the Center’s China Program, pledging nearly $500,000 since 2012, in an effort to preserve and optimize U.S.-China relations.

Spotlight: The Carter Center’s China Program

Soon after becoming U.S. president in 1976, Jimmy Carter began to invest in normalizing relations with the People’s Republic of China. After years of difficult negotiations and overcoming both popular and official resistance, President Carter and Chinese leaders decided to normalize relations effective January 1, 1979, almost simultaneous with the Chinese decision to launch economic reform and initiate measures to open their society.

Today, the Center’s China Program works to sustain U.S.-China relations in ways that can benefit the U.S., China, and the world. Since 2012, It has convened high-level forums to critically analyze issues central to the maintenance of the bilateral relationship, as well as to address how the two countries can cooperate on critical issues in other countries and regions. It has organized symposiums bringing together young Chinese and American scholars in order to increase mutual understanding among future leaders of the bilateral relationship.

Additionally, the China Program also maintains a Chinese language website dedicated to reducing misperceptions, creating a platform for Chinese scholars and officials to engage on the importance of this relationship, and facilitating in building a better understanding of American policy and views on issues pertaining to China.

The Africa-China-U.S. Cooperation Initiative

Arising from longstanding efforts by President Carter and The Carter Center to strengthen bilateral relations between China and the United States, resolve conflict, and build peace in Africa, the Africa-China-U.S. Cooperation Initiative, supported by the Ford Foundation, seeks to foster constructive dialogue between African, Chinese, and American stakeholders on a variety of issues in Africa, as well as find avenues for collaborative actions on selected initiatives featuring African leadership.

In August 2018, as part of this Initiative, The Carter Center organized a consultation workshop in Djibouti, which brought together 30 participants to discuss the status of and give suggestions for trilateral cooperation. The discussion focused on the current work of the Institute of Political and Strategic Studies at the Center of Study and Research of Djibouti, and possible areas of joint research and future collaboration.

This workshop was the beginning of a set of roundtable sessions and technical workshops in Ethiopia, Johannesburg, and Washington, D.C., which resulted in information exchange and discussion of Chinese and American development assistance projects with African countries in public health development, peace and security, and other areas. These discussions have led to the identification of areas where trilateral cooperation may be pursued in a multilateral framework. The Program will progress the Africa-China-U.S. Cooperation Initiative by further developing relationships among American, Chinese, and African partners, conducting objective and thorough needs assessments, and designing and launching cooperative projects.

Fostering and maintaining peaceful and productive international relations is a pillar of the Carter Center’s mission. The Center is grateful to have a longstanding and committed partner in the Ford Foundation, aiding its work to wage peace and encourage diplomatic relations on a global scale.

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