Sharing Aloha with the World

U.S.-China Sister Cities International Conference

As Hawaii’s only member participant, Maui County Sister Cities Foundation, Inc. was honored to represent Mayor Alan Arakawa, who served on the Honorary Host Committee led by General Colin L. Powell, five Governors, three U.S. Senators, nine U.S. Congressmembers, and 12 other Mayors at the U.S.-China Sister Cities International Conference in Washington, D.C. March 26-28, 2014.

A highlight of the conference included an elaborate welcome reception at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. Conference attendees, government officials, and special dignitaries came together to enjoy traditional Chinese entertainment and hear of the wonderful events to come over the next two days of the conference.

 MCSCF DIRECTOR Alexa Betts Basinger and Delegate Xixan Zhang

from Shanghai at the Opening Reception at the China Embassy in Washington, D.C.   

The full-day of sessions and events on Thursday, March 27, 2014, was held at the Ronald Regan Building. Beginning with the Opening Ceremony and Welcome in the Amphitheater co-hosted by Mary D. Kane, President and CEO of Sister Cities International and Xie Yuan, Vice President, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Morning session attended was “Community Engagement Programs,” focusing on ways to involve our community in Sister Cities efforts, emphasizing the importance of outreach.

Afternoon session attended was “Commercial Service Panel – Protocol of Doing Business Between the U.S. and China,” to help prepare for our own protocol panels for Maui County.

Both sessions were very informative with many useful ideas shared by the panel and participants. 

 There was a special event after the informative Keynote Luncheon. Sister Cities International arranged for MCSCF to meet personally with Mr. Xie Yuan to present him with ‘aloha’ greetings and a gift. This was a unique exchange and very much appreciated.  MCSCF presented a proclamation from Governor Abercrombie, a letter wishing a successful event from Mayor Arakawa, and a gift from MCSCF. It was a very good conversation too, as Mr. Xie Yuan knew much about Hawaii!

This busy day ended with the Awards Dinner and Ceremony celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the first U.S.-China Sister City, and to recognize successful SCI programs in the exchange categories of Youth, Economy & Trade, Arts & Culture and Most Innovative, Community Involvement, Sustainable Development and Outstanding Individual.

To value-add to our time in Washington, D.C. MCSCF scheduled appointments with each of our congressional delegates. We were able to share our current international work as ‘citizen ambassadors,’  and to let them know of our plans for the future.

We delivered presentation packets about MCSCF and our unique affiliation with Sister Cities International, together with a variety of information about Maui County.

Meetings were held with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s Dylan Beesley; Senator Brian Schatz’s Legislative Assistant, Will Rogers; Senator Mazie Hirono and her top-notch Assistant, Adam Tanga. Congresswoman Coleen Hanabusa’s Senior/Military Legislative Assistant is following up with us.

We are grateful for their support of our programs.