Delegation From Saint Paul To Visit Changsha

October 7, 2019

Peter Leggett

SAINT PAUL - Today, Mayor Melvin Carter announced that a delegation from Saint Paul co-chaired by Minnesota State Senator Foung Hawj and Saint Paul City Councilmember Dai Thao will visit Changsha in the People’s Republic of China this week, October 8 -10, to celebrate the 31-year old sister-city relationship. 

The delegation will also include Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo along with board members of the Minnesota-China Friendship Garden, as well as other community leaders. Mayor Carter, who is unable to participate in the trip due to other commitments asked Senator Hawj and Councilmember Thao to co-chair the delegation on his behalf. 

“Our long-standing sister-city relationship with Changsha provides both of our communities the opportunity to engage in exchange and enrichment,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “This visit by our delegation co-chaired by Senator Hawj and Councilmember Thao will celebrate and deepen this connection.” 

"I am honored to be appointed by Mayor Melvin Carter to co-chair this delegation to Changsha and to be joined by other leaders in our community to celebrate the 31st anniversary of our sister-city relationship,” said Senator Foung Hawj. “I look forward to meaningful discussions with municipal officials about education, tourism, and business opportunities, especially as our Hmong-American community can trace their history to Changsha.” 

"I'm honored to co-chair the Saint Paul delegation to Changsha, China and celebrate 31-years of friendship with our sister-city,” said City Councilmember Dai Thao. “Our longstanding friendship is evidence of our shared commitment and values to creating vibrant communities that transcend across rivers, cities, and countries. We look forward to exchanging cultural, economic opportunity, education, and tourism practices and ideas."

“This visit celebrates the long-time efforts of the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society in support of Saint Paul’s sister-city relationship with Changsha,” said Mary Warpeha, founding board member of the Minnesota-China Friendship Garden Society. “Following the opening of the Liu Ming Yuan China Friendship Garden at Phalen Regional Park this summer, we look forward to the unveiling of five Peanuts statues at the Yanghu Wetland Park.”

About the Saint Paul-Changsha Sister-City Relationship 
The City of Saint Paul established its sister-city relationship with Changsha in 1988 under Mayor George Latimer. Since its establishment in 2005, the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society, a 501(c)3 nonprofit has been a key collaborator with the City of Saint Paul in cultural exchange. 

This collaboration led to the development of a sister-city China Garden idea including the development of the Xiang Jiang Pavillion in Saint Paul, as well as the gift of five Peanuts sculptures for the Yanghu Wetlands Park in Changsha. In 2011, a China Garden was approved in the Phalen-Keller Regional Park Master Plan laying the groundwork for the construction of the Xiang Jiang Pavillion in Phalen Regional Park began which began in July 2018. The grand opening was held in July 2019. 

This visit by a delegation from Saint Paul marks the first official visit since former Mayor Chris Coleman traveled to Changsha in 2015 to sign a sister-park agreement between Yanghu Wetlands Park and Phalen Regional Park. The trip is being paid for through private funding.