Euro Asia Economic Forum, Xi'an China
Alderman Thomas and the Council's Economic Development Project Officer travelled to Hobart's friendship city (Xi'an) in China to attend the Euro Asia Economic Forum in September 2017. The forum started in 2005 and takes place every two years in Xi'an. President Xi Jinping of China spoke at the forum in 2009 when he was the Vice President. The forum this year was used as a platform of discussion for President Xi's 'One Belt One Road' initiative which is an economic and strategic agenda addressing connecting China with Europe, Africa and Oceana.
The Xi'an Foreign Language School was also visited in order to investigate the potential of it becoming a 'sister school' to a school in Hobart.
Celebrating 40 years of friendship
A delegation of Aldermen, Council officers and community members travelled to Yaizu, Hobart's sister city in Japan in August to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the relationship.
A full itinerary of events to mark the occasion was organised by Mayor Hiromichi Nakano and his team. This included visits to the Yaizu shrine, a deep sea research centre, Yaizu City Council, a study centre for disaster prevention and a meeting with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Department of Economy and Industry. A number of ceremonies and formal events also took place including the naming of a street in Yaizu 'Hobart Street' and a formal dinner with a number of performers including the Yurikamome Children's Choir which has previously been to Hobart.
The delegation was also able to attend the annual Ara Matsuri Festival which is a significant festival for Yaizu and one in which two shrines are carried around the city non-stop for 11 hours. To mark the end of the festival, an hour long firework display took place that was part funded by private enterprise.
It is hoped that the Mayor of Yaizu will visit Hobart in 2018 and bring with him some cultural performers who will showcase their skills to the community of Hobart.
Visiting L'Aquila, Hobart's sister city in Italy
A senior delegation accompanied the University of Tasmania (UTAS) on a study tour of Freiburg in Germany and Cambridge in the UK in June 2017. Whilst in Europe and given that 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the relationship between Hobart and L'Aquila, a visit of respect was paid to L'Aquila.
It was very apparent that L'Aquila is still undergoing an unprecedented rebuild of the city following the devastating earthquake of 2009 in which 80,000 people were displaced . It has been estimated that 10 years of work is still required to restore the city. Despite this situation, the delegation from Hobart were able to meet with Mayor Cielente, the University of L'Aquila to discuss a potential relationship with UTAS, tour the construction works and visit mountain villages with a focus on regional tourism.
It was clear from the visit that the relationship is as important to L'Aquila as it is to the local community here in Hobart. It is hoped that the City of Hobart can welcome the new Mayor of L'Aquila (Mayor Biondi) to Hobart in 2018.
2017 signing of friendship agreement with Fuzhou, China
In January 2017, Hobart formalised a friendship agreement with the Chinese city of Fuzhou.
Fuzhou is a city of 8 million people and is an emerging powerhouse of new technology and growth in the Chinese economy. Fuzhou is also the capital of the Fujian Province which has been Tasmania’s sister state for 36 years.
The official signing between Hobart Deputy Lord Mayor Ron Christie and Acting Fuzhou Mayor You occurred when a Council delegation joined the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra on part of its tour of eastern China.
The friendship city relationship will focus on improving information and trade between the two cities in sectors such as education, culture, science and technology, agriculture, aquaculture and tourism.