USCPFA-MN in Harbin

From January 3-12 this year, President Ralph Beha led a USCPFA Delegation, at the invitation of the Harbin Foreign Affairs Office, to the 2018 Harbin Ice and Snow Festival and the International Cold Zone Forum held there every year. The delegation consisted of Dr. Marc Hertzman, an American composer who has written a historical Western opera about the Jewish people of Harbin and their relationships with the local Chinese people, and his wife; our Chapter Board member Danling Cai, an educator and activist in the adoption movement, and her husband David Pan; Mr. Rusty McLagan, Training Program director at the University of Minnesota’s China Center; Dr. Ben Zhou, a former Board member, Harbin native and entrepreneur; and your President. Our delegation attended Harbin’s International Cold Zone Forum, a gathering of Harbin’s sister cities from cold climates around the world. Representatives of ten Harbin Sister Cities, including your President, spoke about this year’s theme, culture as a means of citizen diplomacy. We also had a formal meeting with Harbin CPC Executive Committee member Mr. Jiao Yuanchao, which ended up being reported on the local nightly news. Dr. Hertzman was able to meet with representatives of the Harbin Opera Company and the Heilongjiang Performing Arts Group to discuss and “workshop” his opera, and the delegation visited several points of historical interest about the Jewish experience in Harbin.

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