COLUMBIA — A public reception to welcome a Chinese delegation from Columbia's sister city — the Laoshan District in Qingdao — was held on Wednesday afternoon at the Daniel Boone City Building.
Leaders from the Laoshan District and Columbia met to share ideas on how to fix community problems and learn about each other's culture. Columbia has five sister cities in the program that is used to promote mutually beneficial relationships with other countries.
To begin their visit, the six Chinese delegates went to the Missouri Innovation Center, had coffee with City Manager Mike Matthes and toured city hall to learn about Columbia's government structure by meeting representatives from various departments.
The delegates had lunch with Mayor Bob McDavid, Director of Joint Communication Office of Emergency Management Zim Schwartze and MU Health Care System manager Randy Boehm. A session followed for community leaders to learn about the differences and similarities in government, business and education between the two cities.
Vicki Curby, a retired MU faculty member, is a member of Columbia Friends of China. The organization plays an instructional role in fostering the friendship between Laoshan District and Columbia.
"The exchange can bring different ideas solving similar problems that government officials face," Curby said. She visited the sister city in 2007.
At the reception ceremony, the mayor welcomed one of the delegates, Zhang Yongbo, the vice director of Political Consultative Conference of Laoshan District.
Columbia is a beautiful and clean college town, Zhang said in Chinese.
Columbia Public Communications officer Renee Graham requested the delegation to send photographs and videos for Portrait of A Sister City, a photography exhibition at the Daniel Boone City Building that showcases Columbia's other sister cities.
"It's good to have dialogues," Graham said. "Columbia can learn from its sister cities and hopefully they can learn from us."