Sister Cities Int’l Conference: China, Africa Summit

The 4th U.S.-China Sister Cities Mayors' Summit
Followed by a welcoming reception held at the Chinese Consulate General in Houston a night before, the 4th U.S.-China Sister Cities Mayors' Summit was held in Houston, the 4th largest city in the United States. Co-sponsored by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and Sister Cities International, the one-day summit features panel discussions, keynote addresses, case studies as well as a multimedia exhibit of more than 300 historic photos to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic ties.

With the theme of "40 Years Ahead: Stronger Friendship, Closer Cooperation," the summit brought representatives from around 40 Chinese and American cities together to discuss topics such as innovation and smart cities, maritime silk road, metroplex collaboration and Sino-foreign education exchanges. Three previous summits were held -- 2014 in Washington D.C., 2015 in Chicago and 2016 in Nanchang, China.

The establishment of sister city relationship between China and the United States started soon after the two countries established their diplomatic ties in 1979, when central China's Hubei Province and the U.S. State of Ohio, and eastern China's Nanjing city and the U.S. city of St. Louis, forged sister relationships. Forty years on, bilateral sister city relationship has grown and flourished, and now the two countries enjoy 277 pairs of sister relationship at different levels, and the momentum is still going strong. To download the event program, click here.

Africa Forum
The Africa Forum as part of Sister Cities International Annual Conference was led by SCI Board Director Lorna Johnson and held at the Texas Southern University in Houston.

Welcome Remarks & Greetings were given by Lorna K Johnson, JD, Hon. Ron Nirenberg (SCI Chairman, Board of Directors/Mayor, City of San Antonio, TX), Roger-Mark De Souza (President & CEO, Sister Cities International), Ellen Goldberg (Immediate Past President, Sister Cities of Houston/Co-Vice Chair, 2019 Sister Cities International Conference/Co-Chair, Africa Forum),  Dr. Kendall T. Harris, Ph.D.,R.E. (Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, Texas Southern University), Edson Ventura (President, Houston-Luanda Sister Cities Association).

Followed by keynote speech given by Ambassador Jerome Ringo (Goodwill Ambassador for the Pan African Parliament), they held multiple sessions on "African Consuls in the U.S.: A Resource for Development", "US Tools for Economic Development Partnerships with Africa", "A Taste of Africa Luncheon", "SCI African Economic Development Sister Cities Models", "Partners for Africa!", "SCI Africa Region Reception".