Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer met with officials at the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, October 18.
Accompanying Delegate Fleischauer was Dr. Brian Anderson, Director of the WVU Energy Institute. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways that the Chinese government can collaborate with the state of West Virginia.
Minister Li Kexin, the number three official at the Embassy, met with Fleischauer and Anderson, along with three Counselors with portfolios relating to energy and sub-national relations.
Delegate Fleischauer discussed expanding Chinese tourism in West Virginia while Professor Anderson highlighted various energy research collaborations that are in progress.
"WVU leads the Advanced Coal Technology Consortium of the US-China Clean Energy Research Center,” said Anderson, “which has been funded by industry and the federal Department of Energy. Through collaboration with colleagues in China, this ten-year project has dedicated $25 million of federal funds and $25 million of partner funds to clean, low-carbon utilization of coal. “
WVU is interested in having more students from China and in increasing commercial and government partners on energy research projects, Anderson explained to Embassy officials. Professor Anderson has visited China many times.
Delegate Fleischauer recently attended WVU’s symposium on Pearl S. Buck, who was born in West Virginia and was the first woman to win both the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes.
“Pearl S. Buck taught the world to care about Chinese people,” Fleischauer explained to the Embassy officials. The WVU Library now houses her manuscripts. Fleischauer also invited the Embassy officials to visit Morgantown, which is the Sister City to Xuzhou, a large city in Jiang-Su province. She recommended Pearl Buck’s birthplace in Hillsboro and the near-by National Radio Observatory, which has partnered with WVU Astronomy professors and middle school science classes, as possible sites of interest to Chinese tourists.
Minister Kexin suggested that one of West Virginia’s best selling points is “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver. Surprisingly, he shared that many people in China know the words to the song. Kexin said Chinese parents looking for places for their children to attend college in the U.S. might be good prospects to recruit to visit West Virginia.
Delegate Fleischauer, along with six other state legislators from New York, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Kentucky and Illinois, has been invited to visit China. The study tour is sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries , a quasi-governmental agency. It will take place on November 15 through 22 this year.
The legislative tour group will be visiting Beijing, where they will meet with U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They will journey to Nanchong, where they will attend part of the China-U.S. Sister Cities Conference and Healthy Cities Forum. Fleischauer currently serves as Minority Chair of the House Health and Human Resources committee.
“I look forward to seeing China, meeting people, and learning how we can work together on jobs, the energy industry and health care, “ Fleischauer said. “I also can’t wait to promote our beautiful state and share things the Chinese might be able to learn from us.”