Provo has official sister-city in China

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    By Anne-Marie Mickelsen

    Provo and Nanning, China have officially declared their sister-city relationship.

    Mayor Lewis K. Billings held a press conference on Friday along with members of the Provo delegation who visited China.

    Ken Crossley, arts administrator for the Division of Arts Production in the College of Fine Arts and Communications, represented BYU.

    Crossley visited Guangxi University and discussed possible student exchanges with university officials.

    He said he has given President Bateman a copy of his report giving detailed information about Guangxi University and the options BYU has with the sister-city.

    Twenty-five city officials from Nanning will visit BYU next week. Their visit will include a tour of Provo, the Homecoming Spectacular, and participation in special seminars sponsored by the Romney Institute of Public Management, Crossley said.

    The seminars will cover topics such as finance, economics, law, and educational management, Crossley said.

    The city of Nanning has also extended an invitation to BYU’s performing arts groups to come to Nanning and perform, he said.

    Crossley talked about Nanning’s yearly International Folksong Festival and how Nanning would love to have the BYU folk dance team become a part of that festival.

    However, the festival is in November and the team usually tours in the summer. They also schedule their performances and tours two years in advance, Crossley said.

    “We hope in the future that we can send a touring and performing group to Nanning,” Crossley said.

    According to the sister-city agreement signed by Billings and Lin Guoquiang, mayor of Nanning, “the two cities will carry out exchanges and cooperation in various forms in the fields of economy, trade, science and technology, culture, education, sports, health, personnel, etc. to promote common prosperity and development.”

    Billings said after the agreement was signed, a friendship tree was planted in Nanning Park.

    The tree is an almond tree and has a life expectancy of 1,000 years. Billings said this signified the length of the cities’ potential relationship.

    At the press conference, the delegation gave a travel log describing their experiences with the people, the sights and the food.

    Nanning is a city of 2 million people, with 35 distinct ethnic groups. It is one of the 50 experimental cities allowed by the national government to formalize western relationships, Billings said.

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