Engaging with American Leaders

In collaboration with the United States Association of Former Members of Congress and other organizations, CUSEF supports expanding opportunities for cross-cultural engagement through jointly organized trips to China. These trips, organized with the support of the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC), facilitate dialogue between past American policy makers and members from all sectors of Chinese society, with the purpose of strengthening mutual understanding and identifying areas of potential cooperation between these two nations.



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The Inaugural U.S. Heartland Mayor Delegation Trip to China

2019 - 2019

The U.S. Heartland Mayor Delegates meeting with Chen Zhi Ying, Executive Vice Mayor of Guangzhou Municipal People's Government.
The U.S. Heartland Mayor Delegates meeting with Chen Zhi Ying, Executive Vice Mayor of Guangzhou Municipal People's Government.

Partnered with the U.S. Heartland China Association (USHCA), our U.S. Heartland mayor delegation brought leaders from Carmel (Indiana), Sioux Falls (South Dakota), and Youngstown and Maumee (Ohio) to China in mid-November for the first time. These mayors represent small-medium sized cities in the U.S. Heartland region that are often overlooked. Despite small in population, these cities play influential roles in their regions.

Named “Beverly Hills of the Midwest”, Carmel, Indiana is home to the leaders of companies like Eli Lilly (Fortune 500), Anthem Insurance (Fortune 500), and Simon Property Group (Fortune 500), where Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a major supplier of energy and consumer of energy industry hardware.

In the state of Ohio, Youngstown is a midwestern city falling within a region of America often referred to as the Rust Belt. Today, it is becoming a center of culture, entertainment and innovation with the revival of its downtown. Maumee is home of Fortune 1000 soybean and corn producer Andersons.

During the five-day visit, they have had in-depth and fruitful conversations with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and government leaders in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as local private businesses. These visits helped both sides to understand more of each other – culturally and business-wise.

Members of the delegation include:

  • Bob Holden, Chairman and CEO, U.S. Heartland China Association
  • James Brainard, Mayor of Carmel, Indiana
  • Paul TenHaken, Mayor of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Jamael Tito Brown, Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio
  • Richard Carr, Mayor of Maumee, Ohio

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