Chinese Delegates Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast
WLOX, April 29, 2010
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This week, the coast hosted eight Chinese delegates working in the earthquake torn area of Sichaun, China. In May of 2008, the area was devastated by a massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake. The delegates' goal was to see, up close and personal, what steps the coast has taken to rebuild.
The Hope Community Development Agency hosted the group of young NGO leaders and government officials at its center in Biloxi. One of the delegates, Hu Ming, works as a program supervisor for the Institute for Civil Society. During the tour, Ming said there was one aspect of the rebuilding process that stood out to him.
"The major players in the rebuilding process are local people, the community. That's what impressed me most," he said.
Two interpreters followed Bill Stallworth, the head of the Hope Community Development Agency, as he led the tour.
Stallworth explained everything from how the center coordinates volunteer efforts to the materials used in rebuilding homes on the coast.
"Sharing this information with the Chinese delegation has been outstanding. They have the same type of problems we have," Stallworth said.
Both sides hope this trip will be the start of an ongoing partnership.
"When our work gets finished in the earthquake zones, we would like to come back and share our experience," Ming said.
The group will visit other cities along the coast and visit New Orleans before leaving next Tuesday. The National Committee on U.S. China Relations and the Institute for Sustainable Communities organized the trip. Plans are in the works to send some South Mississippi delegates to China to keep the international partnership flourishing.