member of the Shanghai Municipal Government's foreign affairs
office is to spend two months working at the Dunedin City
Her arrival in the city next week will be hot on the heels of
a group of 10 tertiary students and a teacher from Shanghai,
who are spending two weeks in Dunedin on scholarships
initiated by Mayor Dave Cull during a Dunedin delegation's
visit to Shanghai last year.
Another group, of secondary school pupils, will visit the
city in March on the same scholarship programme.
The council is to cover $10,000 towards the cost of the
scholarships and pay $7335 for the accommodation and living
costs of the staff member while in Dunedin.
Yuan Zhifeng, the co-ordinator of the Shanghai Municipal
Government's Asia and Oceanian division and the council's
day-to-day contact in Shanghai's foreign affairs office,
would be based in the council's economic development unit for
two months, council business development adviser Margo Reid
She would also spend time with other council staff in the
Civic Centre and at the city's libraries and museums, visit
schools, tertiary institutions and Tourism Dunedin and spend
time with local businesses, particularly those with links to
A council staff member would visit Shanghai next year.
Under the exchange programme, the city sending the staff
member paid the air fares, and the host city met the
accommodation and living costs.
The 10 students, from three Shanghai tertiary institutions,
and teacher arrived in Dunedin on Thursday for a two-week
programme established following an invitation from Mr Cull to
Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong.
The students will attend English language classes, visit
places of interest around the city and join companies for
work experience related to their areas of study.
The students visiting Dunedin were selected through an
Ms Reid said they paid for their air travel, but once on the
ground all costs were being met during their two-week stay.
The programme was sponsored by the ANZ bank, with a $10,000
contribution from the council. The University of Otago and
Otago Polytechnic were providing some free services.
Mr Cull said the initiatives would have several benefits.
Having staff members see first-hand how the other city
operated would forge deeper municipal ties, as well as closer
professional relationships and, therefore, an even closer
bond with Shanghai.
The scholarship programme was an excellent opportunity for
the cross-fertilisation of ideas from the respective cities
and could lead to more interest from Shanghai students in
attending Dunedin educational institutions.
The programme was in accord with the city's Project Shanghai
initiative, which aimed to increase Dunedin's economic
interactions with Shanghai. Otago Chamber of Commerce chief
executive John Christie said it was exciting to see the
initiatives coming to fruition.
The student programme was one of the tangible and mutual
benefits to flow from the delegation's visit and created
closer ties, he said.