12 September, 2018, saw the official formation of the Nanjing Foreign Affairs Service Association, charged with internationalising the city and improving the quality of life for the local international community.
With the approval of the Civil Affairs Bureau and the Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, this was the first member representative conference for the new Association. In attendance were 24 corporate members and 18 individual members, from the first batch of those to join the Association. The meeting was an important milestone necessary for the Association to be recognised under Chinese law.
The representatives reviewed and unanimously approved the “Nanjing Foreign Affairs Service Association Charter (Draft)”, together with the first council members; Chairman of the Board, Cao Wentang; Deputy Directors, Dong Jinming, Wang Shukui, Li Huichuan and He Wen; Directors, Liu Haining, Dai Jun, and Shi Shouning; plus concurrent Association Secretary, He Wen.
Zhang Bin, Deputy Director of the Municipal Foreign Affairs Office, congratulated the success of the conference and the election of the first council, and raised three hopes for the work of the association, saying, “First, focus on actual needs and improve the service level of foreigners. Second, we must focus on urban internationalisation and improve the level of economic and social services. Third, we must focus on self-construction and improve the service level of members”.
It was reported that the Nanjing Foreign Affairs Service Association is a work of the Municipal Foreign Affairs Office focused on bringing about a more innovative Nanjing with greater global influence. By mobilising various fields of society in response to the characteristics of Nanjing’s internationalisation process, and together with the needs of working, studying and living in Nanjing, a new platform for foreign-related services shall be built by institutions and individual enthusiasts, both local and foreign.
The Nanjing Foreign Affairs Service Association, that falls under the umbrella of the Nanjing Foreign Affairs Office, is unique in that it shall enable foreigners to have a direct say in decisions that are made at government level regarding the provision of services that pertain to the international community.
During open discussions after the meeting, the board and members talked about the challenging issue of train tickets for foreigners; their lack of a Chinese ID card making the purchasing process thereof cumbersome and overly time consuming.
In the next step, Nanjing Foreign Affairs Service Association will play a role of contact, guidance and service, to enhance the sense of belonging for foreigners living and working in Nanjing. The Association may also accumulate various resources that are only open to the outside world, and thus make new contribution to the city’s economic and social development, together with the ongoing internationalisation of Nanjing.