U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference This Week

Categories: China News,News


Presented by Sister Cities International, the 2015 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference will connect business leaders, government officials, and citizen diplomats from the U.S. and China. The Conference will celebrate the 30th Anniversaries of Chicago’s sister cities Shanghai and Shenyang and will provide best practices and networking opportunities for the continued success and growth of U.S.-China sister city partnerships.

Major sponsor of the conference is United.

Visit sistercities.org/USChina for more information.


Online registration for the 2015 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference is now closed, however you are still able to register on site at The Hilton Chicago or register by contacting Tony Johnson at tjohnson@sistercities.org or 202.347.8630.

On site registration will run at the following times:

  • Thursday, October 22 | 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Friday, October 23 | 7:30am-3:45pm


The Sister Cities International special room block rate at The Hilton Chicago is now closed. However, you may still book a room there at a regular rate. Additional hotel options we recommend include The Renaissance Blackstone Chicago and The Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel.


U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference Agenda


The agenda for the 2015 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference has several exciting opportunities in store including:

  • Welcome reception in the Cyrus Tang Hall of China at the Field Museum. Major sponsor of the welcome reception is Bank of China.
  • Opening welcome with remarks from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; President and CEO of Sister Cities International, Mary D. Kane; Vice President, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Xie Yuan; and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of Shenyang People’s Congress, Huang Kai.
  • Expert-led breakout sessions on topics ranging from educational exchanges to doing business in China with panelists from United Airlines, Bank of China, 100,000 Strong Foundation, various government officials from China and Chicago, several Chinese and Chicagoan universities, Choose Chicago, World Business Chicago, and more!
  • Closing dinner celebrating the 30th anniversaries of Chicago’s sister cities Shanghai and Shenyang, new U.S.-China sister city partnership signing ceremonies, and live entertainment with provided by the Chinese Fine Arts Society.

Full Agenda

Day 1 (Thursday, October 22)

  • 9:00am – 6:00pm: Early On-Site Registration
  • 7:00pm – 9:00pm: Welcome Reception, Cyrus Tang Hall of China at the Field Museum
    • A special welcome reception hosted by Chicago Sister Cities International will bring together conference attendees, government officials, and special dignitaries. The reception will be the kickoff to the U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference so you don’t want to miss it! Transportation will be provided to and from the Field Museum and the Hilton Chicago.
    • Major sponsor of the welcome reception is Bank of China.

Day 2 (Friday, October 23)

  • 7:30am – 8:30am: Registration & Continental Breakfast
  • 8:30am – 9:30am: Opening Welcome
    • For over 35 years U.S.-China Sister Cities have been working together to better utilize their relationships for economic growth, as well as share in culture and educational experiences to gain a valued understanding of one another. Join us as we welcome you to the 2015 U.S. – China Sister Cities Conference. Madame Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and Mary Kane, President and CEO of Sister Cities International will provide remarks as we celebrate the 30th Anniversaries of Chicago’s Sister Cities, Shanghai and Shenyang, and discuss opportunities for the continued success and growth of U.S.-China sister city partnerships.
    • Speakers:
      • Rahm Emanuel, Mayor, Chicago, Illinois
      • Wenjian Fang, Executive Vice President, USA Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Risk Office of New York Branch, and Chief Risk Officer, Bank of China USA
      • Huang Kai, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of Shenyang People’s Congress
      • Mary D. Kane, President and CEO, Sister Cities International
      • Xie Yuan, Vice President, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries
  • 10:30am – 11:30am: Breakout Sessions
    • Educational Exchanges and Programming:
      • Confucius Institutes are nonprofit public institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China whose goal is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges. With similar goals to the Sister City mission, learn how to engage elementary schools and cultural programming to increase exchange between your U.S. – Chinese Sister City and develop sister school relationships.
      • Moderator:
        • Alan Mather, Chief Officer, Office of College and Career Success, Chicago Public Schools
      • Panelists:
        • Gao Deyi, Deputy Director General, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Education
        • Wang Xiaoting, Director, International Cooperation Division, Education Department of Gansu Province
        • Li Yuan, Deputy Director, Division of International Cooperation and Exchanges, Guizhou Institute of Technology
        • Travis Tanner, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, the 100,000 Strong Foundation
        • Jane Lu, Coordinator, Director, Confucius Institute of Chicago Office of Language and Cultural Education
    • Building Business in China:
      • Learn from corporate executives representing various U.S. and Chinese companies, as well as municipal officials on how to successfully conduct business between the U.S. and China. Learn what guidelines and regulations you need to know before starting a business on the ground, as well as investment and trade advice.
      • Panelists:
        • Gao Hongbo, Executive Vice Mayor of Jiangbei District, Chingqing Municipality
        • Wu Jingming, Vice Mayor of Hechuan District, Chongqing Municipality
        • Lin Lijiao, Vice Mayor of Jieyang, Guangdong Province
        • Samuel T. Mock, Managing Member, Condor International Advisors, LLC
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Luncheon KeynoteJake Cefolia, Vice President, Atlantic and Pacific Sales, United Airlines
  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm: Breakout Sessions
    • Forming International Partnerships with Universities and Colleges:
      • Forming partnerships with Universities and Colleges abroad or those that have relationships with China could be the key to engaging foreign students from China in your community. Learn what sister city programs are doing in their local communities and hear from experts on the next steps to becoming more active in your community’s institutions for higher education.
      • Moderator:
        • Carolyn Bishop, Consultant, Atlanta Sister Cities Commission
      • Panelists:
        • Zhang Yunxiang, Vice President, Northwest University
        • Chen Bin, Vice President, Shanghai University for Science and Technology
        • Yu Ming, Director, Division of International Cooperation, Hebei University of Technology
        • Rashid Ansari, Professor and Department Head, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago
        • Cindy Elliott, Assistant Provost for Global Relations, Fort Hays State University
        • Ian H. Solomon, Vice President for Global Engagement, University of Chciago
    • Protocol of Doing Business between the U.S. and China:
      • With frequent interaction with Chinese officials, it is essential to learn the business culture, etiquette, and meeting protocol to get the most out of your trip and business venture. Protocol tips and experiences are shared by business and exchange experts in this useful session.
      • Panelists:
        • Zhang Baojun, Deputy Director General of Foreign Affairs Office, Gansu Provincial People’s Government
        • Ye Changqing, Executive Vice President, Heibei People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries
        • Yang Zhuo, Deputy Director General, Shenyang Bureau of Foreign Trade and Economic Development
  • 2:45pm – 3:45pm: Breakout Sessions
    • How to Incorporate Yourself into Your Community’s Economic Development Goals:
      • Economic development can help engage new audiences in your community and strengthen your relationship with local government. However, there is no blanket model for how a community should go about leveraging their sister city relationships for generating wealth and business. Explore how green technology is changing the landscape of cities, and how a city’s urban development and planning can aid in innovative programming and exchanges through your sister city program.
      • Panelists:
        • Yang Changya, Mayor, Tongchuan, Shaaxi Province
        • Connie Bacon, Commissioner, Port of Tacoma/The Northwest Seaport Alliance
        • Andrew Spinelli, Director, Global Strategic Initiatives, World Business Chicago
    • Promoting Your City as a Tourist Destination:
      • Discover different perspectives on how to attract business to your city from a local level and learn how to make your city a travel hub for international guests and business travelers.
      • Panelists:
        • Yun Jianmin, Mayor of Qingyang, Gansu Province
        • Wang Xiaojun, Vice Mayor, Weinan, Shaanxi Province
        • Zhu Weiwei, Vice Mayor, Heyuan, Guangdong Province
        • Li Changmei, Vice Mayor, Jiamusi, Heilongjiang Province
        • Melissa Cherry, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Cultural Tourism, Choose Chicago
  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm: Breakout Sessions
    • Meeting for Cities Seeking Cities:
      • A formal meeting for those cities who would like to get to know each other and become potential partners. Pre-registration required.
      • Panelists:
        • Tai Zhan, Deputy Secretary General, Chongqing Municipal People’s Government
        • Zhang Zongbao, Chairman, Chinese Poeple’s Political Consultative Conference Xuchang Municipal Committee, Henan Province
        • Wu Dan, Standing Member of CPC Qiannan Prefectural Committee, Secretary of CPC Duyun Municipal Committee, Guizhou Province
      • Reviving Sister City Partnerships between U.S. and Chinese Communities:
        • In a candid roundtable discussion, brainstorm and discuss what is needed to re-engage your dormant U.S. – Chinese Sister City partnership. A few expert facilitators will be available from successful U.S. – China programs to lend advice and stimulate conversation.
        • Panelists:
          • Wang Haijun, Director General, Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the Government of Heilongjiang Province
          • Liu Tianyu, Deputy Director General, Foreign Affairs Office of Liaoning Provincial Government
          • Li Zhen, Vice President, Henan People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries
  • 6:00pm – 7:00pm: Cocktail Reception
  • 7:00pm – 10:00pm: Closing Dinner
    • A special dinner to celebrate the 30th anniversaries of Chicago’s sister cities Shanghai and Shenyang. Enjoy a three course dinner, entertainment provided by the Chinese Fine Arts Society, and witness the sister city signings of a few new U.S.-China partnerships.