China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia Welcomes Young Scholars for Multi-Day Philadelphia Tour

Kathleen Quigley, for GPA -- Gathered at the Independence Visitor Center on an afternoon in early October, a group of around 50 students and teachers from the People's Republic of China took part in a Q & A with some of Philadelphia's most prominent representatives of law, the city's historical legacy, and authorities on global sustainability. The Q & A session was only a piece of a much broader cultural exchange led by the China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia.

Organized by the China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, together with Dong Fang International (a national educational services company, which is the Chinese Ministry of Education’s foremost private-sector affiliate), the students and teachers spent several days in Philadelphia exploring the city's long-standing economic and cultural ties to China.

For what is slated to be a two-year program bringing leading students (winners at various levels of the nationally-televised ‘Star of Outlook’ program) to Philadelphia in 2012 and again in 2013, the initial two-day portion of this year’s program was a series of activities and events spent at prominent Philadelphia venues. With the aim of acquainting the student group with Philadelphia as ‘a global city with a unique China story’ through stops at the Navy Yard, Wells Fargo 76er Sports Center, the Kimmel Center, City Hall, Chinatown, Independence Mall and the Independence Seaport Museum, the young scholars toured Philadelphia and were filmed by Chinese television for later broadcasting in their home country.

As part of their dynamic agenda on October 4, the students and teachers came to the Independence Visitor Center. Formulating questions directed toward a panel composed of Global Philadelphia Association's founder and Reed Smith Partner, John F. Smith III, China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia's Director, Dr.Terry Cooke, as well as Allison Young of the National Constitution Center, several students used their excellent English skills to ask the panelists about US investment in sustainable business practices and how these practices affect the environment and influence US foreign policy toward China and other nations.

The complexity of the topics students were prepared to address to the panelists was impressive, and it quickly became clear that the room was filled with well-informed individuals taking advantage of the unique opportunity to discuss pressing issues of the Chinese-American political relationship. Dr. Cooke used his expertise in matters of global environmental concerns and relations between the US and China throughout the students' stay in Philadelphia. With his fluent Mandarin, Dr. Cooke led a discussion among teachers after most of the students left to take a tour of Independence Hall when the Q & A session concluded.

The hope is that next year this exchange will be repeated, perhaps as part of Global Philadelphia Association's initiative Global Philly™2013. Praising the students' willingness to learn and challenge themselves through an international exchange to the United States, John Smith told the group "you are the future of China. Our futures are inexorably tied together."

About the China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia

The China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia (CPGP) is a non-profit organization that promotes collaboration – primarily on public/private clean technology initiatives – between Philadelphia and the People’s Republic of China. Its objective is to accelerate job creation, attract investment, and support clean technology business flows through strategic linkages between Greater Philadelphia and China. CPGP harnesses the Greater Philadelphia region’s exceptional academic, government, cultural and business resources to leverage regional and national initiatives in both countries.