The seminar included expert panels that discussed ways to address the growth and infrastructure challenges in China along with discussions on bringing about behavioral change through educational campaigns. The Paulson Institute discussed the roll out of a new assessment tool to help Chinese mayors diagnose the unique challenges facing their cities. In addition, Chairman Hank Paulson announced the launch of the Paulson Prize in sustainability to be awarded annually for an innovative and effective project or program in a Chinese city that could be introduced in other cities in China and potentially around the world.
Also during the conference, the Paulson Institute and the China Association of Mayors, along with the University of Chicago and sponsorship from Hyatt Corporation, signed a memorandum of understanding to begin training Chinese mayors on best practices in sustainability. The training will start with the provincial level city of Beijing in late 2013.
During the conference, mayors from Nanjing, Changsha, Langfang, Tianjin and Philadelphia were interviewed on strategies to address sustainability challenges in their respective cities. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter also participated in an interview panel with acting Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun. Additionally, Hank Paulson led a luncheon interview for seminar participants with leading Chinese and US CEOs, including Mark Hoplamazian, CEO of Hyatt Hotels, Feng Lun, Chairman, Vantone Holdings and Zhang Yuliang, Chairman of Greenland Group.
The Moore Foundation sponsored the event and Skidmore, Owens and Merrill sponsored a dinner for key participants. Fortune Magazine and China Business News served as media partners and moderated all panels. In addition, the China Association of Mayors, China City Development Authority and The Energy Foundation were co-organizers of the event.
While in Beijing, the US delegation participating in the conference was hosted by Vice Premier Wang Qishan to discuss the desired outcomes of the event as well as The Paulson Institute’s urban sustainability programs. Vice Premier Wang noted the importance of continued reform and transformation of the Chinese economy to provide opportunities for a growing middle class. This urbanization and increased purchasing power for the new middle class will benefit both Chinese and Western firms.