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ACYPL was pleased to welcome the 40th Anniversary delegation from the People’s Republic of China in autumn of 2019 in coordination with our partner, the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF). This nine-member delegation was led in Washington D.C. by Mr. Li Keyong, Acting Vice President of ACYF, and in Michigan and Oregon, by Ms. Wang Yi, Honorary President of the Henan Provincial Youth Federation. In June 2019, ACYF hosted a delegation of Americans and celebrated the 40th Anniversary of our partnership, and ACYPL was eager to appropriately reciprocate and mark this special occasion in our organizations’ and countries’ histories.
In Washington, D.C., the delegation enjoyed the unique opportunity to discuss China – US relations with The Honorable Jonathan Fritz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for China, Mongolia and Taiwan Coordination at the US Department of State’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. Notably, ACYPL’s local alumni were also eager to discuss progress and celebrate partnership at our 40th Anniversary Reception, attended by The Honorable Betsy DeVos who had traveled on an ACYPL exchange to China in 1988. With trade remaining a key topic throughout the program, the delegates were delighted that they had two different opportunities to meet with Mr. Brian Diffell, President of WTG Global, a lobbying firm that specializes in international trade issues.
Other memorable meetings in Lansing, Michigan, and Portland, Oregon gave the delegates an opportunity to gain understanding of all levels of state and local government. In Lansing, they met with two freshman Michigan State Representatives, Sarah Anthony and Laurie Pohutsky; these young elected officials had entered politics in 2018 and discussed future-focused policies for their districts. In Portland, they were happy to meet with US Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) to hear about remaining connected to constituents in Oregon while serving in Washington, DC. Beyond the topic of governance, through visiting Chinese-American Museums in Washington and Portland and taking an in-depth history tour of Detroit, the delegation was presented with a well-rounded perspective of American cities and the impacts of immigration and industry.
Our alumni worked especially hard to welcome this delegation. The Oregon state host, The Honorable Felicita Monteblanco, Chair of the Board of the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District and alumnus of ACYPL’s 2019 exchange to China, celebrated the connections between our countries. She organized a day with the Portland-Suzhou Sister City Association, which was fitting as Suzhou was one of the cities that the American delegation visited in 2019. At the Lan-Su Chinese Garden, the delegates commented that even after travelling so far and being away for a long time, they still felt like they were at home.