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US-China Center Fellows


The US-China Center fellowship program has been created to honor individuals who have made significant contribution to deepening mutual understanding of American and Chinese cultures. To serve as a Fellow of the Vanderbilt US-China Center for Education and Culture is an honor--one that is accompanied by a few responsibilities. We recognize our fellows' tremendous contribution to cross-cultural understanding and enthusiasm to collaborate with the US-China Center. Fellowship recognition also carries the hope and expectation that our fellows will represent the values and goals of Vanderbilt and the US-China Center in all their public endeavors, and that they will share their talent, experience, and knowledge with Vanderbilt faculty and students here on campus.

Abigail Washburn

Washburn's career as a performer has been both musically dynamic and culturally enriching. After living in China for some time in the nineties and developing a deep love for Chinese culture as well as a strong proficiency in Mandarin, she became determined to bring the folk music of the American South to China. While building an impressive musical repertoire stateside, Washburn never lost her love for China or her ambition to use music as a medium of exchange and education. She made her first mini-tour of China in 2005, eventually leading to a US Government-sponsored musical tour (the first ever) with her band The Sparrow Quartet.

Her most recent project, Wu Force, is a shining example of her commitment to international exchange. A trio including Wu Fei, a guzheng player, Wu Force is a mix of both traditional American and traditional Chinese folk music, sung in both English and Chinese. Recent performances included an April 2013 concert at Vanderbilt on behalf of the US-China Center. For her tireless effort to bring cultural exchange through music, we thank her and honor her as the US-China Center's first Fellow.

More information about Washburn can be found here. Information about Wu Force, including selected songs, can be found here. To watch Washburn's TED talk, please click here. Finally, to watch her performance of "Little Birdie" from the November 2013 event "Bridging Cultures: Conversations Through Music," plese click here.


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