“Visionaries to the Grand Celebration in Beijing—The Iowa Xi Jinping Story”
“For me, you are America,” then-Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, told Sarah Lande during a 2012 return visit to Muscatine, Iowa. This visit brought Muscatine to the national spotlight, but the visionaries behind this landmark event and the benefits enjoyed by Iowa as a result are less widely known. These visionaries, such as Governor Bob Ray, Paul Engle, and Herbert Hoover laid the groundwork for Iowa-China cultural exchanges and international cooperation. Sarah Lande will reflect upon those who started it all, the recent celebration commemorating Iowa-China relations, and what the future holds for the two of us together.
Former President and Executive Director of the Iowa Sister States organization, Sarah Lande in 1985 facilitated a visit to Muscatine by a delegation of the Chinese government including Xi Jinping (then an up-and-coming agricultural official from Hebei Province). In February of 2012, Sarah and her husband, Roger, hosted a tender reunion in their Muscatine home with old friends including Xi Jinping. Later that year, Xi in kind hosted Sarah and other Iowa friends in China, and he has since become President of the country. For her diplomatic endeavors, in 2013 Sarah was named an “Honorary Friendship Ambassador” by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Beyond this, she has proactively served the Muscatine community throughout her lifetime. Sarah is a recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Service from the University of Iowa, from which she graduated with her BA and MBA degrees.