2015 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference

U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference

The 2015 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference will connect business leaders, government officials, and citizen diplomats from the U.S. and China. The Conference will celebrate the 30th Anniversaries of Chicago’s sister cities Shanghai and Shenyang and will provide best practices and networking opportunities for the continued success and growth of U.S.-China sister city partnerships.

Online registration is now open! CLICK HERE to register. CLICK HERE to view the Agenda.


Thursday, October 22 - Friday, October, 23, 2015

U.S.-China Conference Panelists


The Hilton Chicago
720 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60605

Hotel Accommodation:

A block of rooms is being held at The Hilton Chicago at a special rate of $249/night. Please call 1-877-865-5320 and reference "2015 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference" to reserve your room, or book online HERE. The hotel cut-off date to receive this special rate is Wednesday, September 30, 2015. All guests will receive complimentary basic wireless internet in guest rooms. Please note: Rooms offered at the special room rate are available on a first come, first serve basis. Please book your room early!

So you may better budget your hotel stay, current state sales tax is 10.5%, and the hotel occupancy tax rate is 16.4%. This will be added per hotel room, per night at the end of your stay.

Click here for more details about hotel accommodations.


  • Full Event - Early Bird Rate (ends August 31, 2015): $350 (Full event registration includes the 10/22 Welcome Reception, 10/23 Conference and Closing Dinner)
  • Individual Ticket - Welcome Reception (10/22): $100
  • Individual Ticket - Closing Dinner (10/23): $150

Click here for full list of fees and policies.

Click here to register.

U.S.-China Sponsors

Sponsorship Opportunities:

Support the 2015 U.S.-China Sister Cities Conference and be part of a wonderful event furthering ties between the U.S. and China! CLICK HERE to download the sponsorship packet detailing various sponsor levels.


Please note the agenda is subject to change.

Day 1 (Thursday, October 22)

9:00am - 6:00pm: Early On-Site Registration

7:00pm - 9:00pm: Welcome Reception

Day 2 (Friday, October 23)

8:00am - 9:00am: Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00am - 10:00am: Opening Welcome

  • For over 35 years U.S.-China Sister Cities have been working together to better utilize their relationships for economic growth, as well as share in culture and educational experiences to gain a valued understanding of one another. Join us as we welcome you to the 2015 U.S. - China Sister Cities Conference.  Madame Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and Mary Kane, President and CEO of Sister Cities International will provide remarks as we celebrate the 30th Anniversaries of Chicago’s Sister Cities, Shanghai and Shenyang, and discuss opportunities for the continued success and growth of U.S.-China sister city partnerships.

10:30am - 11:30am: Breakout Sessions

  • Educational Exchanges and Programming: Confucius Institutes are nonprofit public institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China whose goal is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges. With similar goals to the Sister City mission, learn how to engage elementary schools and cultural programming to increase exchange between your U.S. – Chinese Sister City and develop sister school relationships. 
  • Forming International Partnerships with Universities and Colleges: Forming partnerships with Universities and Colleges abroad or those that have relationships with China could be the key to engaging foreign students from China in your community. Learn what sister city programs are doing in their local communities and hear from experts on the next steps to becoming more active in your community’s institutions for higher education.

12:00pm - 1:00pm: Luncheon Keynote

1:30pm - 2:30pm: Breakout Sessions

  • Building Business in China: Learn from corporate executives representing various U.S. and Chinese companies, as well as municipal officials on how to successfully conduct business between the U.S. and China. Learn what guidelines and regulations you need to know before starting a business on the ground, as well as investment and trade advice.  
  • Protocol of Doing Business between the U.S. and China: With frequent interaction with Chinese officials, it is essential to learn the business culture, etiquette, and meeting protocol to get the most out of your trip and business venture. Protocol tips and experiences are shared by business and exchange experts in this useful session. 

2:45pm - 3:45pm: Breakout Sessions

  • How to Incorporate Yourself into Your Community's Economic Development Goals: Economic development can help engage new audiences in your community and strengthen your relationship with local government.  However, there is no blanket model for how a community should go about leveraging their sister city relationships for generating wealth and business.  Explore how green technology is changing the landscape of cities, and how a city’s urban development and planning can aid in innovative programming and exchanges through your sister city program. 
  • Promoting Your City as a Tourist Destination: Discover different perspectives on how to attract business to your city from a local level and learn how to make your city a travel hub for international guests and business travelers. 

4:00pm - 5:00pm: Breakout Sessions

  • Meeting for Cities Seeking Cities: A formal meeting for those cities who would like to get to know each other and become potential partners. Pre-registration required.
  • Reviving Sister City Partnerships between U.S. and Chinese Communities: In a candid roundtable discussion, brainstorm and discuss what is needed to re-engage your dormant U.S. – Chinese Sister City partnership. A few expert facilitators will be available from successful U.S. – China programs to lend advice and stimulate conversation. 

6:00pm - 10:00pm: Closing Dinner

Questions? Please email conference@sistercities.org.