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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


Southwest Florida, Yantai, China, Sign Historic Partnership Agreement Wednesday

FORT MYERS, FL - Southwest Florida welcomes a delegation from Yantai in Shandong Province, China, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 13-14 at Florida Gulf Coast University in a historic visit to sign a Sister City partnership that will provide benefits to businesses, students and cultural organizations of both regions. The signing ceremony is 11 a.m., Wednesday, June 14 in the Student Union ballroom.

County commissioners of Charlotte, Collier, Hendry and Lee counties resolved to sign the Memorandum of Understanding to build on the partnership already established between each region's universities - Yantai University and FGCU - and promote further friendship.

The agreement shapes cooperation in areas of mutual benefit such as developing increased understanding and contact between organizations involved in economic development in both regions, and encouraging exchanges between the educational and professional organizations in Southwest Florida and Yantai.

Also, the agreement helps to advance economic relationships and business opportunities between the two regions by sharing information, and to support and encourage visits and exchanges by the citizens of both regions.

"Yantai's government officials and university administrators share our view on the importance of offering students and citizens a better understanding of each other's country," President William C. Merwin said.

Tuesday morning, the seven-member delegation receives a tour of FGCU and meets with President William C. Merwin and FGCU's deans to focus on cooperative opportunities for professors and students. In the afternoon, they meet with hospital personnel.

Wednesday at FGCU, the delegation meets with local K-12 school officials, the Regional Business Alliance of Southwest Florida and Economic Development Councils to discuss prospects.

FGCU hosts the signing ceremony at 11 a.m. in the Student Union ballroom. The University expects county commissioners, directors of Economic Development Councils, school board members and superintendents, representatives from Chambers of Commerce, local business executives doing business in China, foreign language curriculum specialists, and a representative from the governor's office to attend, along with FGCU administrators, trustees, Foundation board members and College of Business Advisory Council members.

"I sincerely wish Yantai and Southwest Florida team up for mutual benefits in economy, tourism, education and culture, and I am so glad that I can participate in the buildup of this relationship," Yantai-Southwest Florida liaison Peng Lu said.

FGCU's association with Yantai University developed as a result of FGCU signing a cooperative agreement in December with another Chinese school, Nankai University in Tianjin, to offer joint business degrees, create executive programs and launch an Institute for Chinese Studies.

For more information, media representatives should contact director of Advancement Judie Cassidy at (239) 590-1058.

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