Chinese ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai hosted a lunch on April 8, 2015, for Yenching Academy Associate Dean John Holden, during which the ambassador expressed his strong support for the Yenching Academy. The two men, who have been friends since 1999 when the ambassador worked at the Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations and Dean Holden headed the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, were joined by Political Counsel Mao Ning.
Associate Dean Holden also met with U.S. ambassador to the People's Replubic of China Max Baucus, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs Thomas Hodges, and Deputy Public Affairs Officer Lisa Heller earlier this year on January 23, 2015.
Associate Dean Holden introduced the Yenching Academy and invited Ambassador Baucus to attend its Opening Ceremony in September 2015, to which the ambassador agreed. Ambassador Baucus expressed his interest in meeting and speaking with the first cohort of Yenching Scholars.
Ambassador Baucus' mentor was Mike Mansfield, the prominent politician and diplomat from Ambassador Baucus' home state of Montana. During the meeting, Dean Holden presented his copy of the program brochure for an event that he and Ambassador Baucus helped to sponsor in Beijing in May 1997, and shared memories of Mansfield.