HOUSTON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Sister Cities International (SCI), a U.S. organization dedicated to promoting friendship with foreign cities, launched a U.S.-China endowment through its foundation on Wednesday to help its members strengthen people-to-people exchanges.
Tim Quigley, chair of the SCI Foundation, announced the establishment of the U.S.-China Endowment for Citizen Exchanges at the luncheon of the U.S.-China Sister Cities Mayors' Summit, which is part of the SCI annual conference.
Quigley said his foundation was formed to support the SCI network by attracting and providing resources to help grow, strengthen and retain the relationships of sister-city-hood around the world.
This new U.S.-China endowment aims to provide SCI members -- many of them organizations running their local sister city programs -- with resources to strengthen continuous citizen exchanges, he said.
He also thanked the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), a long-time partner of SCI, for making the endowment possible.
The first contributors to the endowment, including the CPAFFC's China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development and the government of the Chinese city of Nanchang, were acknowledged at the launch.
The luncheon also celebrated China-U.S. relations in the past 40 years. SCI President and CEO Roger-Mark De Souza, who has partial Chinese ancestry, said "this kinship, this connection attracts me to learn more about this beautiful country and its people, and to recognize the importance of sustaining our relations of friendship between the United States and China."
Co-sponsored by the CPAFFC and SCI, the U.S.-China Sister Cities Mayors' Summit featured panel discussions, keynote addresses, case studies as well as a multimedia exhibit of more than 300 historic photos to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic ties.
Three previous summits were held -- 2014 in Washington D.C., 2015 in Chicago and 2016 in Nanchang.