View The YouTube Video
CHICAGO – Mayor Richard M. Daley and Mrs. Maggie Daley hosted President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China at a welcome dinner event tonight in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago hotel.
The dinner, attended by civic, business and community leaders, is the first official event held to mark the occasion of President Hu’s visit to Chicago, which follows his meetings with President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. earlier this week as part of a State Visit.
“This is President Hu's first visit to our city, and we are excited to share with him all that makes Chicago a wonderful place for our residents and visitors alike,” Daley said.
“I’m convinced that the economic future of Chicago and other cities depends on our willingness to seek opportunities all around the world and especially in Asia, and in recent years we have focused a great deal of effort on developing an economic relationship with China. Our long-range goal is to make Chicago the most ‘China-Friendly’ city in the United States and to establish it as China’s ‘Gateway to America,’” the Mayor said.
At the dinner, Daley announced a gift of $1 million to fund scholarships for Chinese students to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. The scholarship is endowed by the Margot and Tom Pritzker Family Foundation to foster educational exchanges in architecture and design that will enable Chinese students to return to China with refined skill sets in these fields.
Daley said Tom Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt, and his wife, Margot, have a deep interest in Chinese art and culture. Together, they have been active in preserving a number of important cultural heritage sites in China.
“Art leads to greater understanding among cultures and this gift is given as a gesture of friendship on behalf of the people of Chicago on the occasion of President Hu's visit,” he said.
The Mayor also announced that Motorola Solutions is making a gift of $100,000 to the Chicago Public Schools to increase the number of CPS students studying in China.
The gift is part of the federal government’s “100,000 Strong” Initiative, a national effort designed to increase dramatically the number and diversify the
composition of American students studying in China. Caterpillar, Inc., has also pledged significant support for the “100,000 Strong” Initiative, the Mayor said.
This program seeks to prepare the next generation of American experts on China whose job it will be to manage the growing ties between the two countries.
The dinner featured musical performances by the Stu Hirsh Orchestra, the Chicago Children’s Choir and two Chinese-born members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, violinist Lei Hou and her sister, violinist Qing Hou.
In addition to Mayor Daley, the Welcome Committee is composed of W. James McNerney, Jr., Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of The Boeing Company; Douglas R. Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc.; Thomas J. Pritzker, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Jamie Dimon; Chairman and CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase & Company; and Greg Brown, President and CEO, Motorola Solutions, Inc.
The guests dined on a traditional Midwestern menu with Asian accents. The meal was a collaboration of three of Chicago’s prominent chefs:
Executive Chef Mario Garcia, Hilton Chicago
Chef Mario began his culinary career at the Hilton Chicago in 1996 and over the years he has mastered many aspects of the food service industry at a number of Hilton’s properties. In October 2010, Chef Mario became Executive Chef. Mario’s passion for the industry, his clients, and the hotel staff sets him apart and has contributed to his success at one of Hilton Worldwide’s flagship hotels.
Chef Jackie Shen
Hong Kong native Jackie Shen has put her mark on Chicago with her passion and “can do” attitude in and out of the kitchen. From her first foray into fine dining with “Jackie’s” in Lincoln Park to her many charitable accomplishments, Chef Shen has won numerous awards and honors for her efforts. Most recently, Chef Shen ended her successful run at critically acclaimed “Red Light”, located in the South Loop, allowing her to focus on community work, her family and new possibilities.
Executive Pastry Chef Gale Gand, Tru
Chef Gand is best known as the executive pastry chef and partner of the renowned four-star Mobil, five-diamond AAA, Relais & Chateaeux Relais-Gourmand restaurant “Tru”. In 2001 she was recognized as Outstanding Pastry Chef by The James Beard Foundation and Pastry Chef of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine. In addition to her many culinary accolades, Gand has also received recognition as a supporter of sustainable agriculture, eating locally, the environmental movement and is involved in numerous community causes.
On January 21, Mayor Daley and President Hu will visit Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. The Presidential visit will conclude that day with an exhibition of Chinese companies that have established a presence in the Midwest.
# # #
Remarks by Mayor Richard M. Daley
Welcoming Dinner for President Hu Jintao
Thursday, January 20, 2011
- His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China
- Distinguished Members of the Chinese Government and Business Delegation
- The Honorable Pat Quinn, Governor of Ilinois
- The Honorable Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin
- The Honorable Dick Durbin, U.S. Senator
- The Honorable Mark Kirk, U.S. Senator
- The Honorable Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President
- The Honorable Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce
- The Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education
- Members of the Federal Government and U.S. Congressional Delegation
- Members of the State, County and City Governments
- Members of the Chicago and Midwest Business and Civic Communities
As Mayor and on behalf of the residents of Chicago, it is a pleasure to be with you tonight to offer a warm welcome to His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China and his distinguished delegation.
Maggie and I were honored last night to attend the State Dinner for President Hu, in Washington and I know all of us who were there are strongly committed to helping expand the partnership between our two countries.
Tonight and tomorrow, Chicago will do its part in that cause.
This is President Hu's first visit to our city, and we are excited to share with him all that makes Chicago – the home of President Barack Obama -- a wonderful place for our residents and visitors alike.
As we all know, there are many great things to see in Chicago. But there is nothing more important I can show President Hu than our children, in school and learning, and our thriving business community.
So tomorrow I have invited the President to join me in visiting Walter Payton College Prep -- one of Chicago's dynamic public schools.
I know that the people of China have much in common with our own citizens. And one of the things that we share is our commitment to preparing our children for the global economy of the future.
And to prepare them in the critical areas of math and science, to be able to use technology to become the innovators of the future.
To help them master world languages so they know more than just the words, but also the history and culture of our global counterparts.
That is why I have been committed to promoting the study of Chinese language and culture in our schools. I am proud that our Chinese language program is the largest of its kind in the United States and we plan to expand it.
Our childrenrepresent Chicago’s future as a significant center of the global economy.
In these tough economic times we are doing everything we can to make sure our city is competitive globally and that we are attracting business and tourism to help keep our economy prosperous.
I am pleased to say that Chicago has a very strong relationship with China in that regard.
Chicago has enjoyed Sister City relationships with Shanghai and Shenyang for more than 25 years.
We have hosted each other’s visitors, exchanged art and music and shared business ideas, technology and medical expertise.
This relationship has fostered important "people-to-people" and cultural exchanges which are vital to developing a closer partnership between our residents.
I’ve traveled to China more than once over the past six years and I’ve met with business and civic leaders as well as government officials. These and other efforts help us continue to strengthen our relationship with China and grow as an international city.
That’s one of the reasons we sponsored “Chicago Days” in Shanghai during the 2010 World Expo, which gave us the chance to highlight Chicago’s music, art, food and sports for millions of visitors.
I want to commend the President and the people of China for an exceptional event that brought people around the world closer together.
I’m convinced that the economic future of Chicago and other cities depends on our willingness to seek opportunities internationally and especially in Asia.
In recent years we have focused a great deal of effort on developing an economic relationship with China.
Our long-range goal is to make Chicago the most “China-Friendly” city in the United States and to establish it as China’s “Gateway to America.”
Already more than 30 China-based companies are located in the Chicago area, including Goldwind, the leading wind power company in China, which has recently established its US headquarters in our central business district.
We want our relationship with China to grow even stronger and there has never been a better time to expand our connections.
A visit such as this one helps us do that and perhaps even more importantly, it can lead to greater understanding among cultures and greater friendship among nations.
Something else that leads to greater understanding among cultures is art. In order to leave a legacy of your historic visit to our city, Mr. President, we wanted to establish a new partnership between Chicago and China that will benefit future generations for years to come.
Tom Pritzker - who is Chairman of Hyatt - and his wife Margot have a deep interest in Chinese art and culture. Together, they have been active in preserving a number of important cultural heritage sites in China.
So I am pleased to announce that the Pritzkers are giving a gift of $1 million to the School of the Art Institute to be used for scholarships for Chinese students to attend the school.
This gift is given as a gesture of friendship on behalf of the people of Chicago on the occasion of your visit, Mr. President.
We hope that this gift underscores the importance of our educational connections and complements our nation’s “100,000 Strong” Initiative, an effort designed to dramatically increase the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China.
This program seeks to prepare the next generation of American experts on China whose job it will be to manage the growing ties between our countries.
I am also pleased to tell you that another of our great Chicago companies – Motorola Solutions– is making a gift of $100,000 to the Chicago Public Schools to increase the number of CPS students studying in China and that Caterpillar has also pledged significant support for the “100,000 Strong” Initiative.
This kind of generosity is something that is a hallmark of Chicago’s business and philanthropic community and I want to thank the sponsors of tonight’s dinner for their contributions to expanding the relationship between Chicago and China.
- Hyatt, one of the world’s great global hospitality companies.
- Motorola Solutions, one of our most innovative technology companies.
- Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company.
- Caterpillar, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction and mining equipment, and engines and turbines, and
- JP Morgan Chase, one of the oldest financial institutions in the United States, with a history dating back over 200 years.
Even in these difficult economic times, Chicago is still creating opportunity and improving the quality of life for its residents.
The credit for that goes to many people across our city – people in the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, the faith-based community, educators, students and, of course, our residents.
So we welcome you to our city tonight, Mr. President, in a spirit of collaboration and commitment that I believe defines Chicago.
And now it is my pleasure to introduce our guest of honor.
He is a man of vision and I was struck by something he said before leaving China to come on this visit to the United States.
He expressed hope that China and the United States could find common ground on many critical issues ranging from fighting terrorism and nuclear expansion to cooperating on clean energy and infrastructure development.
And he said this: "We both stand to gain from a sound China-U.S. relationship, and lose from confrontation.”
In the hope that our countries fully embrace that sentiment and in the hope that the economic, educational and cultural ties between Chicago and China continue to expand, it is my honor to introduce His Excellency Hu Jintao, the President of the People's Republic of China.
# # #