Wednesday, November 20, 2013

At Brookings, Hillary Clinton Discusses Early Childhood Development

Appearing on the podium with Chinese Vice Premier Madame Liu Yandong,  with whom she collaborated as secretary of state on a variety of similar issues, Hillary Clinton addressed an audience at the Brookings Institution today on one of her signature initiatives: Early Childhood Development (#ECD on Twitter).

Special thanks to Tracy Viselli who has been kind enough to share her twitpics from the event.

Event Agenda

  • 8:30 - 9:20

    Keynote Address: Madame Liu Yandong and Hillary Rodham Clinton

    • Her Excellency Liu Yandong
      Vice Premier
      People’s Republic of China

    • The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
      Former U.S. Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton and Liu Yandong on Early Childhood Development in China and the United States

Madame Liu Yandong and Hillary Rodham Clinton exchange greetings on stage at the Brookings Institution, during a discussion of early childhood development programs and research in both countries

Brookings and the China Development Research Foundation co-hosted a discussion on opportunities and challenges for early childhood development (ECD) programs in both countries. Dual keynote addresses were delivered by Her Excellency Liu Yandong, vice premier of the People's Republic of China, and the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state.

Madame Liu, speaking in Mandarin with simultaneous translation, said that "China will soon release a national plan for development of children in poor areas," with a goal "to ensure the healthy growth of every child in China." She cited data demonstrating how China has met UN Millennium Development Goals in infant and child mortality rates dropping. While acknowledging the "daunting challenge" of promoting children's development in China, home to nearly 310 million children, Madame Liu said that "investment in early childhood development is a human capital investment with the highest return." Chinese President Xi Jinping, she said, "attaches great importance to early childhood development," sharing a vision with that expressed by President Barack Obama.

Sec. Clinton echoed many of the points Madame Liu made about the importance of early childhood education, citing research, and stressing the opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration and communication on this issue. "Investing in early childhood development," Clinton said, "is one of the best returns on investments that a country can make to accelerate long-term economic growth and productivity." Citing research that shows that children born into higher-income families hear 30 million more words in their formative years than do children born into lower-income families (and described by Richard Reeves in his "Parenting Gap" paper), Sec. Clinton said that "We want to see our young people working together, understanding each other, communicating … to have the background and confidence to work through those disagreements peacefully … much of that depends upon education and the start in life that children in both of our countries have."
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Brookings tweeted this picture.  It's lovely, and clearly a color memo went out for today!