Mayors Training Program

China’s mayors are on the front lines of the country’s move toward more sustainable urbanization and economic growth. Our leadership training program empowers local policymakers to implement sustainable practices in urban centers across China.

Launched in partnership with the China Association of Mayors in 2012, the initiative provides an annual, comprehensive urbanization training program for Chinese mayors and leaders. To date, the program has trained around 100 mayors and city leaders from Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Tianjin.


Each year, the program identifies mayors and leaders from a specific Chinese region and develops a curriculum tailored to the unique aspects of their cities. The curriculum is designed annually by the Tsinghua University School of Architecture and The University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, in close consultation with the Paulson Institute, and incorporates seminars, panel discussions, site visits, and lectures.

The delegation begins the three-week program with a week of study at Tsinghua University in Beijing, followed by a week of training at the University of Chicago, concluding with a third week in a major American city. Past program participants have visited Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Miami, Portland, and Los Angeles.


The program covers a range of urban planning topics such as architecture, infrastructure, energy and waste disposal systems, transportation, and parks. Combining classroom instruction with site visits that reinforce the key themes of the curriculum ensures that participants have the opportunity to improve their theoretical knowledge about urban sustainability while seeing real-world projects in operation.

The program is sponsored by the Hyatt Corporation, Energy Foundation and Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation, with support from other leading corporations.

2018 Program: In September 2018, Guangdong officials visited Chicago and New Orleans for sustainability training and educational site visits with local leaders and urban planning experts, focusing on coastal resilience and other themes.


mayors-trip-22016 Program: In July 2016, Tianjin officials visited Chicago and Los Angeles for educational sustainability programming and meetings with local leaders and urban planners.



mayors 2014 group2015 Program: In July 2015, Zhejiang officials visited Chicago, Portland, and San Francisco for sustainability training and educational meetings with local representatives.



mayors 2014 group2014 Program: In September 2014, Guangdong officials visited Chicago and Miami for meetings with urban planners and sustainability training.



2013 Program: In October 2013, Beijing city officials visited Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City.