In 1985 five young Chinese traveled to Iowa as an agricultural delegation. This trip forged bonds of friendship that brought one of them back to Iowa in 2012. This visitor was then the vice president of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping.

For 27 years Xi Jinping held fond memories from this 1985 visit close in his heart. While visiting Beijing in 2011, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad learned Xi Jinping wished to visit his "Old Friends" in Iowa.

"Old Friends": The Xi Jinping Iowa Story illustrates the personal journeys of Iowans and Chinese as they first traveled to each other's countries in 1979 through 2015. 

Sarah Lande has been a catalyst in building people to people relationships between these two countries.  Because of her involvement in both visits she was asked by the 1985 visitors to tell this story.



Sarah Lande introduces the team that helped her create “Old Friends”: The Xi Jinping-Iowa Story. The official launch of the memoir was held May 3, 2018 at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, Iowa.  From left to right: Albert Liu, Sarah Lande, Amy Bakke, and Joni Axel. (Photo by Michael Kreiser)

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