Since 2001, UCLA has been part of the Silk Road to the Future, a project which brings hundreds of American based students, staff and faculty to China to interact with their counterparts from Chinese universities. A nonprofit organization called Legends of China spearheads this project with the hopes of promoting cross-cultural exchange and developing intercultural friendships between universities in the U.S. and China. Participants of this trip are dubbed “peace ambassadors” as they set off to China to engage in a cultural exchange, participate in leadership programs and ultimately build their global citizenship. Trip itineraries provide a combination of historic tours and educational outings to sites like ancient temples, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China, and offer programs that allow participants to take a glimpse into Chinese culture as they learn how silk fabric, silk rugs, jade artifacts and pearl jewelry are traditionally made.
Students both from China and U.S. are required to create artwork representing peace on silk fabric squares provided by Legends of China. Silk pieces collected from all trips taking place between 2001 and 2008 were put together to create a magnificent 10,000 meter banner that was on exhibit at 2008 Beijing Olympic Exhibition for the whole world to see. Since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Legends of China Foundation has set a new goal that will stretch the banner beyond China with a new banner-length goal of 40,076 silk pieces. This new banner will represent the circumference of the earth's equator --- the distance around our globe!
The Legends of China Foundation coordinates this trip to ensure that all participants have a wonderful and unique experience in China. Trip participants enjoy accommodations at 4-5 star hotels and traditional ten-course meals at fine restaurants on a daily basis. Comfortable charter buses provide transportation for program participants from busy boulevards in Beijing to the scenic countryside en route to the more rustic provinces of China.