Today Mayor Vincent Gray announced a 10-day trade mission starting Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, to the People’s Republic of China, where city leaders will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the District’s Sister City Relationship with Beijing. Leaders will also officially open a DC China Center in the Chinese capital and participate in other key events that highlight economic development, tourism, education, arts and culture.
“I’m thrilled once again to further the District’s economic-development goals as well as to promote cultural and educational exchanges by traveling to China. Our three-decade-old relationship with Beijing has flourished over the years, and will only grow and deepen thanks to the efforts we will undertake on this trip – chief among them the establishment of the new Beijing branch of the DC China Center,” Gray said.
The District’s Sister City agreement with Beijing, which began on May 15, 1984, focuses on arts and culture, technology, education and tourism. Mayor Gray is scheduled to participate in several events during the mission. Those events include:
- Attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for official opening of the second DC China Center, located in Beijing. The District opened its first international office in Shanghai in June 2012. Both offices, which will be overseen by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, serve as the portal to information and services that can help facilitate economic exchange between the citizens in the country of China and District residents and business owners.
- Participating in the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Summit, at which he will encourage WTCF organizers to select the District as its 2015 host city. WTCF is the first international tourism foundation that aims to promote the tourism industry throughout the world. Currently over 100 tourism cities, including the District, have joined the federation.
- Participate in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Beijing Government and the D.C. Arts and Humanities Commission. The two cities will mutually agree to enhance the creative economy and cultural connections between their communities by establishing forums and meetings to exchange ideas and by supporting training opportunities.
- Announcing the partnership between the District’s Howard University and Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing to launch a global master’s of business administration certificate program.
- Visiting and touring No. 65 Middle School in Beijing in an effort to establish a Sister School Relationship with McKinley Technology Education Campus in the District.
- Announcing a new economic-development partnership between China and the District of Columbia.
The China mission was funded through the contract established with the DC China Center in Shanghai. Travel expenses for Mayor Gray and Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development M. Jeffrey Miller were funded through WTCF.