Hamilton has strengthened its sister city relationship with Wuxi in China with the establishment of a school exchange programme.
Mayor Bob Simcock and a representative of the Mayor of Wuxi, a city of six million people, have signed an agreement to facilitate exchanges between schools in the two cities.
Since 1986 the two cities have enjoyed a close sister city relationship and Mr Simcock said the school exchange programme will enhance this friendship.
“This gives Hamilton secondary school students an opportunity to explore one of China’s most rapidly growing cities, and to gain an understanding of the role that China will play in the world in the future.”
“I also hope that this increased understanding will encourage schools to make the Mandarin language more available as a subject in their curricula.”
There is strong interest from city schools in participating in the exchange programme.
While the city has well-developed student cultural exchange programmes with Japanese schools, this is the first formal relationship with schools in China. Copies of the agreement, in both English and Chinese, were signed by Mayor Simcock and Yang Huiju, Vice President of the Standing Committee of Wuxi Municipal People’s Congress, on Behalf of the Mayor of Wuxi.
Schools wishing to participate in the exchange will negotiate the details with schools in China, assisted by the municipal offices in both cities. Wuxi is known as the “land of rice and fish,” – an ancient and very wealthy city with textiles, electronics and light industry its key industries. Hamilton has some business links with the city.