Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wisconsin grows its ties with China. Our family is tied to our wonderful little Duanduan!

It seems to me that ties between Wisconsin and China are growing stronger and more valuable all the time.

All of the big global discussions of politics and trade will ebb and flow, but it is my great hope that all the small steps taken by families, businesses, non-profits and universities will strengthen ties between the U.S. and China that will grow increasingly stronger and endure for generations.

As I look to the new year, I look to new possibilities and new hope. New generations of families and friends that will make this dream happen in ways our passing generations could never have dreamed.

I am one of the lucky ones to be able to participate in this great shift. I am honored by a great friendship between my family and a wonderful family in China. We met our friends Yongchao and Xiaoling, while Yongchao was completing his MBA at Edgewood College in Madison.

Yongchao also works in economic development so we had much to share, but it was not work that brought us together. It was the great hope for strong and prosperous futures for our two countries and for our families that animated our long talks.

And now their family and the world's future is blessed by a new generation emerging. The photo for this post is of Yongchao and their beautiful little Duanduan, who celebrated her first birthday this past summer. Mary and I are honorary grandparents. Our daughters are doting aunts. When I look at my good friend Yongchao in this photo I know Duanduan's future could not be in better hands.

The University of Wisconsin is actively working on opening an office in China. If things go well it might happen as early as this summer. According to our newspaper it's something "everyone (the UW and their partners in China) wants to happen." The University of Wisconsin is also working to welcome hundreds of new students from China to the UW Milwaukee. A great new agreement was just signed this month to help this. According to a news report, "It could be the latest page in a long history of Chinese students coming to the Badger state."

Our family in Madison is blessed by our friendship with a family I greatly honor and admire in China.

Happy First Birthday Duanduan! Your family in the U.S. welcomes you - and all the possibilities our family friendship represents!

2008 photo Xiaoling took of Yongchao and me while the three of us were touring southern Wisconsin for fun. This picture was taken at Devil's Lake State Park in the Baraboo Range, just north of Madison.

UW-Milwaukee hopes to attract more Chinese students. Wisconsin Public Radio.

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