China’s mayors are on the front lines of the country’s move toward more sustainable urbanization and economic growth. Our leadership exchange 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 a comprehensive urbanization training for Chinese mayors and leaders. To date, the exchange has trained over 100 mayors and city leaders from Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Tianjin.

Each year, the program identifies local and provincial leaders from a specific Chinese region and develops a curriculum tailored to the unique aspects of their cities. The curriculum is designed in close consultation with the Tsinghua University School of Architecture and the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, and incorporates seminars, panel discussions, site visits, and expert 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 delegations have studied in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Miami, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.

The program covers a range of urban planning topics, including urban planning and transformation, innovative urban governance, sponge cities, emergency management, ports and rivers, public facilities –parks and communities, water supply management, building energy efficiency, air quality, TOD and PPP projects. Chinese mayors will have forum discussions with their U.S. counterparts and conduct site visits to U.S. cities.

Combining classroom instruction site visits that reinforce the curriculum’s key themes ensures that participants can improve their theoretical knowledge about urban sustainability while witnessing real-world projects in operation.

The program receives support from the Hyatt Corporation, Energy Foundation, and other international and Chinese Foundations, with support from other leading corporations such as Motorola and Wanxiang.

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Previous Programs


2018 Exchange: Mayors Training Program Hosts Guangdong Delegation


2016 Exchange: Mayors Training Program Hosts Tianjin Delegation


2015 Exchange: For Chinese officials, seeing is not only believing – it's transformational


2014 Exchange: Mayors Training Program Welcomes Guangdong Delegation


2013 Exchange: Mayors Training Program Begins