CHICAGO – Mayor Richard M. Daley and Mrs. Maggie Daley recently hosted President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China at a welcome dinner event 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 including Executive Chef Mario Garcia, Hilton Chicago, Chef Jackie Shen and Executive Pastry Chef Gale Gand, Tru.