Panel Discussion: Ping Pong Diplomacy and its Legacy

Print Friendly

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy, the Asia Society has gathered some of the original players – from both the US and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) — from the 1971 delegation as well as today’s champions play matches for a sure to be exciting panel discussion. Hear their thoughts on 40 years of sport, sports diplomacy, and the strong ties between the US and China today – what has become the most important bilateral relationship in the world.

40 years ago, the world changed for the better. Despite the long political divide between the U.S. and the PRC following WWII, China cracked open the diplomatic door and allowed in the first Americans in two decades. What sparked this sudden opening? Ping Pong. The courage of two athletes — one from each country — started the process that led to President Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972. Now the Bay Area welcomes a Chinese delegation of table tennis Olympians and sports officials, including members of the team who played in the original matches in 1971.

For more information and this and related events – including an exhibition match, coaches’ clinic, and more!– please visit http://www.basoc.org/ping_pong_diplomacy.html

Participants:

Liang Geliang, member of the Chinese Ping Pong Diplomacy Team, Men’s World Champion, 1971-79.

Zheng Huaiying, member of the Chinese Ping Pong Diplomacy Team, 1975 Women’s World Champion.

Tim Boggan, member of the 1971 Ping Pong Diplomacy Team, former Vice President, International Table Tennis Federation Vice-President, author.

Willie Banks, Olympian, President, US Olympic Alumni Association.

George Braithwaite, member of the US Ping Pong Diplomacy team; former Vice President, US Table Tennis Association Board.

Cai Zhenhua, President, Chinese Table Tennis Association; Vice President, Chinese Olympic Committee.

Judy Hoarfrost, the youngest member of the 1971 U.S. Ping Pong Diplomacy Team; member of the U.S. table tennis team for ten years.

Robert Kapp (moderator), former president, U.S.-China Business Council, former professor of Chinese History, University of Washington.

Adham Sharara, President, International Table Tennis Federation.

Co-organized by the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee; Co-sponsored by the Chinatown YMCA, Chinese Historical Society, and World Affairs Council

WHEN:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

1:30 pm Registration

2:00-3:30 pm Program

WHERE

Koret Auditorium

San Francisco Public Library

100 Larkin Street, San Francisco

COST

FREE Admission; Advance RSVP strongly recommended

RSVP

To register, email Amanda Huffman at ahuffman@asiasociety.org or call 415.421.8707

About the Author