Phila. forms ties with Chinese city

Mayor Michael Nutter with (from left) Nancy Gilboy, president of the International Visitors Council, Duane Bumb, City Commerce Dept., and their Chinese interpreter visit the Great Wall of China during their visit. — PHOTO COURTESY OF SUZANNE BIEMILLER

Nutter leads delegation to Tianjin, China


The City of Brotherly Love has another sister, another sister city that is — Tianjin, China — after Mayors Michael Nutter and Huang Xingguo this week signed a memorandum of understanding uniting the two cities in an effort to encourage cooperative trade, education and personnel development.

“Establishing new ties and bolstering existing relationships are important steps for Philadelphia’s economic development,” Nutter said in a statement. “By working with our partners in China, especially in Tianjin, and sharing best practices and experiences, both sides can continue to develop and grow. I look forward to these relationships continuing in the future and am excited to see what results they will yield.”

The mayor has been in China all week in an effort to strengthen ties with the economic giant.

Announced Tuesday, the memorandum encourages trade development and education cooperation as well as promoting the “Sister City Fellowship Program,” which will focus on personnel development between the two cities.

The city was not the only local organization to participate in the effort to strengthen ties between the two cities. The Fox Chase Cancer Center, Drexel University, the law firm of White and Williams and the Philadelphia Orchestra also signed agreements with partner institutions in Tianjin.

Fox Chase Cancer Center signed an agreement with the Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute to establish a sister-hospital relationship to further develop oncology expertise in Tianjin and throughout China. Some of the focuses of this new agreement will include aligning Tianjin with world-class Western cancer care, training Tianjin students, fellows, interns and nurses at Fox Chase as well as establishing and expanding clinical trials programs in Tianjin.

“These kind of sister-hospital relationships, which align the skills and resources of cancer research, diagnosis and treatment resident at Fox Chase with the extraordinary growth of cancer treatment and diagnostic requirements in China and other nations, help us expand our Center’s mission of prevailing over cancer internationally,” said Kurt Schwinghammer, Ph.D., Vice President of Research & Development Alliances at Fox Chase and Head of Fox Chase International.

Drexel University and Nankai University, located in Tianjin, agreed to “to promote the advancement of scholarship, innovation, and learning through student and faculty exchange, research, joint publication, and service.”

The universities will collaborate on and exchange materials related to research and education, jointly participate in conferences and engage students and faculty in education and community service. 

“Urban universities, such as Drexel and Nankai, are critical drivers of innovation and economic growth as well as key partners in building and strengthening the local and global nexus of collaboration” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “Drexel is very proud to be a part of Mayor Nutter’s delegation to Tianjin and to make our growing partnership with Nankai University a part of Philadelphia’s Sister City Program.” 

White and Williams, LLP reaffirmed an already existing with the Winners Law Firm. The firms signed a restated strategic alliance.

The original alliance was signed in Philadelphia in February and witnessed by Mayor Nutter. The new agreement expands the focus of cooperation in the areas of clean-technology, including the further development of commercial protocols for the protection of intellectual property jointly developed between U.S. and China companies and institutions.  

“The law firm of White and Williams is honored to be included in this historic event. Our long-standing relationship with the City of Tianjin is far-reaching and expands upon the Strategic Alliance we entered into with the Winners Law Firm in February of this year, which Mayor Nutter graciously hosted at City Hall. We look forward to growing these relationships with Philadelphia’s Sister City of Tianjin and with the businesses and institutions represented in both cities,” said Gary P. Biehn, chair of the firm’s Business Department for the China Business Group and International Group.

The Philadelphia Orchestra, which has a long history with China, will continue to explore ways to work together in the future with the city of Tianjin and the Tianjin Grand Theater, where The Philadelphia Orchestra made its Sister City debut in 2012.

“The City of Tianjin was incredibly hospitable and gracious during our visit last spring. In particular, it was a great pleasure to meet with Tianjin Mayor Huang and Tianjin Grand Theater President Qian Cheng. We look forward to the flowering of our future relationship with Philadelphia’s Sister City,” said Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.