The Annapolis County delegation includes Annapolis Basin Conference Centre president Beth Earle and county CAO John Ferguson. They will be visiting both Quzhou and Suzhou.
“I believe there is a very important opportunity for economic development that will be beneficial to both the communities we’ll be working with in China and to Annapolis County, and I believe the District of Digby as well,” said Ferguson. “I think the three key areas will be cultural, educational, and economic development.”
Ferguson said the county received invitations from four Chinese communities: Xuzhou, Suqian, Quzhou, and Suzhou.
Habinski said Annapolis County is attractive to the Chinese for several reasons besides English immersion.
“They’re also fascinated by how we’ve managed to retain our cultural connections in Atlantic Canada,” he said. “This is a particular interest in China because in much of China -- that has urbanized so rapidly -- people have lost that sense of community. So they’re fascinated how with our educational systems, by our social institutions, we’ve managed to preserve those social connections and keep very healthy, vibrant communities.”
He said it’s one of the things Nova Scotians do better than virtually anywhere else in the country.
“And we’re also promoting some of our local businesses,” he said, “In particular Acadian Sea Plants, our local burgeoning wine industry,” he said. “But really, ultimately what we’re doing is creating a relationship. We’re building friendships because we believe the best way for an area this small to actually have a role to play in the global economy is not to do things on a big scale, but to do things on a small, very personal, very intimate scale.”
Habinski likes that when they go across they are going to meet people face to face.
“We’re going to invite them to come back,” he said. “We’re going to invite their students to come study here, their families to come and stay here, their businesses to see what we have here that might interest them for investment. That’s the goal.”