The Chinese authorities have recognised the sister city relationship between Kuopio and Shanghai's Pudong New Area with the China International Friendship-City Exchange and Cooperation Award. No Finnish city has previously received the award.
The award was granted by the China International Friendship Association and the China International Friendship-City Alliance. It was presented on Friday 11 November 2016 in Chongqing, in conjunction with the 2016 China International Friendship-City Congress. Speaking at the opening of this solemn and ceremonial event was China's deputy president and it was attended by former and current members of the governments of many countries. The award was accepted by the Mayor of Kuopio, Petteri Paronen, and Chair of the City Executive, Pekka Kantanen.
"I am very happy about this award. It is recognition for the long-term and wide-ranging cooperation that has been, and is, carried out between Kuopio and the Pudong district of Shanghai. We have done work in, for example, the fields of culture, teaching and business promotion for companies. It's great that we have now received proof that Kuopio's work is valued by China at the national level," says Paronen.
"It is a great strength for us that we have many enthusiastic, knowledgeable and committed people and actors working towards China. With them the city has managed to create positive field for cooperation with Shanghai Pudong, which supports the intercourse between Finnish and Chinese actors," Paronen concludes.
Kuopio and Pudong New Area have been sister cities since 2012, but cooperation began back in the early 2000s. Kuopio also has 14 other sister cities, but Kuopio is Pudong's only sister city.
"The difference in scale between Kuopio and Shanghai's Pudong New Area, with five million inhabitants, is huge," points out Pekka Kantanen. "Chinese cities have thousands of sister city relationships throughout the world. It helps to appreciate the significance of the award if you know that no other Finnish city has won it. It shows that there is something truly unique about the cooperation between Kuopio and Shanghai," Kantanen continues.
The Kuopio region's cooperation network for its Shanghai activities is composed of the City of Kuopio, Kuopio Innovation, the University of Eastern Finland (UEF), the Kuopio Region Chamber of Commerce, the Savonia University of Applied Sciences and the Savo Consortium for Education and Training (SAKKY). In addition to business internationalisation, there has been a vigorous increase in activities in the teaching field, while the cultural side has also remained very active.
For more information:
Mayor Petteri Paronen, +358 44 718 2001
Chair, City Executive, Pekka Kantanen, +358 44 355 8998