CCCC makes alliance official with Carolina China Council

Partnership expected to yield economic, educational benefits
Jun. 13, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

Fostering an international connection, Central Carolina Community College and the Carolina China Council have established a partnership designed to promote business, culture and education.

CCCC President Bud Marchant and Carolina China Council President Lian Xie signed an agreement formalizing the partnership June 6 at a panel luncheon held at the college’s Lee County Campus.

Also at the signing were former North Carolina Sen. Harris Blake and his daughter, Joy Donat; Sanford mayor Cornelia Olive; Bill Horner III, publisher of The Sanford Herald; Andy Bryan, superintendent-elect of Lee County Schools; Hong Yang, president of JJY International Information Consulting; Jan Hayes, CCCC trustee and executive director of the United Way of Lee County; Lisa Chapman, executive vice president for instruction; Ling Huang, Confucius Classroom instructor; and Jon Matthews, dean of University Transfer and Health Science.

Blake has been working to promote relations between North Carolina and China for nearly a decade. In 2005, the remains of an unidentified World War II Flying Tiger American fighter pilot buried in Hunan Province were identified as 2nd Lt. Robert Hoyle Upchurch of Moore County. Blake worked to see his remains were transported to their final resting place in High Falls.

“I am thankful for CCCC and what it wants to accomplish through this partnership,” said Blake, who is the chairman and a founding member of the Carolina China Council. “If we do this right, in the years to come, China and the United States will be the leading countries in the world.”

The CCCC-CCC partnership was created to foster bilateral communications, build broader networks of connections, moderate language barriers and increase international traffic into the local area.

“The partnership is a logical extension of the vision of the CCCC Confucius Classroom and will help this area of North Carolina become an international force in culture, education and business,” Marchant said. “As a community college, we are very interested in exploring ways to connect with Chinese businesses, expand cultural outreach and promote our area in a global market.”

Mayor Olive affirmed the city’s interest in expanding local industry and job opportunities, and Horner suggested local companies may find the cultural aspects of an active partnership a benefit for business prospects.

North Carolina now ranks fifth among U.S. states receiving Chinese business investments, with 2013 on track to be the largest year yet for Chinese investment in U.S. firms, according to a recent Thomson Reuters and Rhodium Group study.

"North Carolina is special in the Chinese mind,” said Xie, who called Sanford “a perfect location for Chinese business to come to invest” due to its broad manufacturing base and high-tech industries.

A professor of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at NCSU, Xie said his hobby for the past 21 years has been linking North Carolina to China – a hobby that helped lead to the creation of the Carolina China Council.

Established in 2009, the CCC is a nonprofit organization with offices in Chapel Hill and Cary. It is committed to connecting the people in the Carolinas and China. Specifically, the activities of the CCC include summer camps, internships, educational tours, performing art shows, trade shows and investment conferences.

One of the CCC’s principal endeavors is building bridges between North Carolina and Chinese communities. North Carolina entered into a Sister State relationship with the Hunan Province in 2011, and the cities of Pinehurst and Durham have established partnerships with the Hunan cities of Zhijiang and Zhouzhou, respectively.

Sister city connections are typically based on proportional population size and on parallels in community industry and civic interests, and Sanford may have an opportunity to be a part of such an arrangement with the Chinese city of Yixing.

Situated on the western shore of China’s Lake of Tai, Yixing shares with Sanford not only a similar latitude and climate, but also a long tradition of crafting pottery from distinctive red clay.

In the interest of further exploring a sister city connection, delegates from CCCC initiated a request at Wednesday's Law and Finance Committee meeting for the city of Sanford to pass a formal resolution to open discussions on the matter.

Should Sanford pursue a partnership, the first step in the process would be to form a sister city board including citizens of various ages, backgrounds and business sectors. Next, the board would coordinate a leadership visit to Yixing. Likewise, a Yixing delegation would visit Sanford. Finally, a letter of intent would be submitted, which would be followed by an official agreement.

For more information about the Carolina China Council, visit carolina-chinacouncil.org. For more information about Central Carolina Community College’s Confucius Classroom, visit www.cccc.edu/confucius.