Overlapping communities of American missionaries and higher education administrators and faculty laid the foundations for international education in the United States during the first half-century of that movement’s existence. Their interests and activities in China, in conjunction with Chinese efforts to develop modern educational systems in the early twentieth century, meant that Chinese students featured prominently among foreign students in the United States. Through the education and career of Meng Zhi, an American-educated convert to Christianity, staunch patriot, and long-term director of the China Institute in America, this article examines the transition of international education programs from U.S.-dominated efforts to extend influence overseas to initiatives intended to advance Chinese nationalist projects for modernization.

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