Tampa, FL. – (September 22, 2016) Today Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Lanzhou Interim Mayor Guangping Duan signed a historic Sister Cities agreement. The signing took place in Lanzhou, China and represents Tampa’s first sister city in Asia.
“This agreement strengthens Tampa’s competitiveness as an emerging player on the global stage,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Not only does this partnership help increase the potential for economic and cultural exchanges and foster collaborative innovation, but it also bolsters Morsani College of Medicine and USF’s relationship with the top-notch institutions in Lanzhou.”
This agreement furthers the exchange of medical knowledge between USF and Health and Family Planning Commission of Gansu Province and serves as the culmination of an eight-year relationship between the two institutions by solidifying the understanding and relationship between the two cities. USF Health participates in an exchange of Medical students between the two cities.
The agreement commits both cities to identifying activities that can generate new initiatives to further nurture economic, social and cultural relationships, and to:
- promoting both cities to their respective business and academic sectors as locations for trade and investment;
- facilitating trade missions and business-to-business dialogue between the two cities;
- exploring and encourage cooperation and exchange between local development agencies, Chambers of Commerce and tourism bodies;
- helping facilitate faith-based exchanges between faith leaders in both cities;
- encouraging ‘study abroad’ programs, and relevant research opportunities, between the cities’ respective colleges and universities;
- promoting mutual leisure and business tourism opportunities;
- encouraging cultural exchanges; and
- exploring joint policy development and sharing of best practice in the fields of urban development, regeneration, and city financial models.
Tampa’s Sister City programs operate as non-profit, independent organizations, and are heavily dependent on voluntary support and contributions. During the 1960s, citizens and government officials recognized the importance of developing closer international relations, and the search for a Sister City began. The success of this program prompted the development of other goodwill sister relations. To the present date, eleven Sister City friendships have been formed.
The Sister Cities Program began as a national concept in 1956, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for massive exchanges between Americans and people of other countries to create international understanding and goodwill. A Sister City agreement is formalized when two communities from different nations join together to develop a friendly and meaningful relationship. The two cities exchange people, ideas, culture, education, and technology. Citizens from both communities learn about each other’s culture and become directly involved in developing unique solutions to common problems. The Sister Cities Program promotes world peace on an individual level and encourages citizens to better understand the community, by contrasting their way of life with another culture.