National Urban League Leads African-American Leaders on Historic Trade & Cultural Mission
NUL Explores Innovative Ways for Black America to ‘Get Down to Business’ with China in Beijing, Jan. 30-Feb. 4
(NEW YORK) - While sight-seeing and experiencing Chinese culture are indeed part of its weeklong itinerary, a National Urban League delegation to the People’s Republic of China will be focused on business, education and urban renewal during a historic cultural and trade mission to Beijing, Jan. 30, 2010 to Feb. 4.
The delegation, led by National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial and Los Angeles Urban League President and CEO Blair Taylor, is composed of prominent African-American leaders from around the country in business, education, civil engagement and government. While in Beijing, they will have an unprecedented opportunity to engage with influential Chinese business and community leaders.
“We will explore common areas of interest and potential opportunities to bring Chinese investment to the African-American community in such areas such as banking and finance, industry and manufacturing, import-export, real estate, culture and tourism and the public sector,” Morial said. “In particular, we hope to partner with the Chinese to drive urban development and renewal, update inner-city infrastructure - as well as secure investment in and financing for businesses and entrepreneurship, while creating jobs and affordable housing.”
The private mission is the first national African-American delegation to China. The group is being hosted by the China-United States Exchange Foundation with coordination assistance and counsel from Donald Tang, a long-time and one of the strongest supporters of the Urban League and CEO of Citic Securities International Partners (CSIP), Ltd.
In 2006, Taylor led a 12-member team of executives, educational and business experts and community leaders from the Los Angeles African-American community to visit the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing for eight days. The current trip is a continuation of interest in developing an African-American plan for building global relationships and wealth for America’s cities.
“All Urban League affiliates will find value in investment from China, a nation that has emerged from third world to global superpower status in less than 25 years, Taylor said. “There are clearly mutual benefits from a relationship between the African- American community in the United States and the peoples of China."
The Chinese have also shown a great interest in American culture, particularly in sports and music, and cultural exchanges will be another focus of the trip. The National Basketball Association and Adidas have both exceeded their sales expectations by marketing sports equipment and memorabilia at 29 retail outlets in China. In fact, NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady and Dwayne Wade all top China’s native son Yao Ming in NBA jersey sales, Morial said.
The trip comes just months after President Barack Obama’s tour of Asia last November. And while the Urban League is aligned and supports the president’s policies on key issues that span from economic growth to climate change, Morial reiterates that this mission has a specific focus on economic development and job creation.
“We have been planning our exploratory trade and cultural mission to China for some time. We find it interesting and apropos that in his November Asian trip, Pres. Obama showed that he is on the same page with the NUL and is aggressively exploring new socioeconomic opportunities between the U.S. and Asia. We appreciate that in that trip the president once again demonstrated his leadership and vision by setting the stage for what we believe will be an important cultural and business exchange – as well as a memorable world event.”
In addition to Morial, Taylor and other key Urban League officials, delegates include: former Secretary. of Transportation Rodney Slater; Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory; Carl Ballton, president, Union Bank of California Foundation; Danny Bakewell, chairman, National Newspapers Publishers Association; Dr. Frank Gilliam, dean of the UCLA School of Public Affairs. The mission has been organized by Julia Wilson, founder and CEO, Wilson Global Communications USA, an international marketing communications company, headquartered in Washington, D.C.
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