China-US conference told of special bond formed by Kunshan and Durham

Kunshan and Durham will be “inextricably linked for generations to come” thanks to the universities that brought them together, the interim executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University told the fifth China-U.S. Sister Cities Conference.

Dr. Mary Frances Luce spoke of the special bond formed by the partner cities when Duke University in Durham and the Kunshan government teamed up with Wuhan University to establish Duke Kunshan as a leading global institution.

Mary Frances Luce

She delivered the remarks on Nov. 3 at an “Education and Youth” parallel forum at the conference.

Themed “Building Green Cities for the People”, the conference was held to forge closer ties and deepen practical cooperation between China and the U.S. at the local level.

It was co-hosted by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government.

The following day a United States delegation of county mayors attending the conference visited DKU for a tour of the campus.

The local officials were shown state-of-the-art facilities such as the Library and Academic Building and the unique blend of Chinese and Western architectural features on campus as they experienced its vibrant international atmosphere.

The visit on Nov. 4 to Duke Kunshan was one of several exchange activities associated with the China-U.S. Sister Cities Conference. DKU was chosen for the visit as a model of Sino-U.S. cooperation in the education sector.

About 200 representatives from more than 10 provinces in China and over 100 county mayors/executives and senators from the U.S. attended the sister cities conference in Kunshan where they discussed issues such as employment, education and the environment.

“As we live in fast-paced and challenging times, partnerships like the Sister City program are particularly essential in helping bring together people whose perspectives, beliefs and ways of living and learning may be vastly different from one another,” Luce said at the forum.

“Because our two cities have such diverse backgrounds, these types of partnerships allow us to learn from and understand each other, and realize we have so much in common as we tackle the many problems that face our interconnected world.”

Luce added, “Thanks to our two wonderful universities, our two cities will remain inextricably linked for generations to come.

“I am eager to see what lies ahead for Kunshan and Durham and our people, as we strive to make the world a better place.”

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