The Bay Area’s strong and enduring relationship with China was celebrated on February 18, 2020 when hundreds of leaders gathered at the Bay Area Council’s 10th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration presented by Bank of the Orient. The gathering at the beautiful Julia Morgan Ballroom offered a perfect backdrop as the Council honored Senator Dianne Feinstein with its Global Leadership Award, recognizing her more than four decades of achievement in deepening ties between San Francisco, the Bay Area and China. It was on the same day 40 years ago that then-San Francisco Mayor Feinstein established the historic San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City relationship that has served as a powerful foundation for increasing cultural, economic and civic partnership.
In presenting the award to Sen. Feinstein, Council CEO Jim Wunderman said it was her visionary leadership in establishing the sister city relationship that would open the door for companies and organizations like the Council to expand in China. The Council now operates four offices in China, leads regular delegation trips to China and hosts Chinese business and government leaders as they visit the Bay Area to explore economic opportunities. Last year’s inaugural honoree, Florence Fang, joined Wunderman in presenting the award to Sen. Feinstein.
Sen. Feinstein said the deep ties engendered by the sister city relationship will outlast the current national-level tensions over trade. Those sentiments were echoed in remarks by Chinese Consul General of San Francisco Wang Donghua, who praised subnational partnerships as an important vehicle for advancing broader economic connections. The message was fitting as we celebrate the Year of the Rat, which signifies the beginning of a new day and heralds a time of abundance and prosperity. The event was featured in a Xinhua news story that appeared on the website of the China International Import Expo, one of the world’s largest purchasing events where the Council for the past two years has hosted a booth representing California.
Consul General Wang, Sen. Feinstein and Wunderman all addressed the continuing concerns about the coronavirus, the steps being taken to halt its further spread and the importance of international collaboration in responding to the threat. Kaiser Permanente Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Courneya also spoke, giving an update on activities to respond to the crisis and providing information on precautions individuals can take to avoid contracting or spreading the illness. The Council extends its gratitude to all our valued sponsors, including Bank of the Orient, Alaska Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, and McKinsey & Co.