The City of Markham and the Hakka Canadian Association (HCA) recently announced the Association’s successful bid to host the 31st World Hakka Conference in October 2021.
“This marks a first in Canada and the first time in 30 years this prestigious conference has been held in North America,” says Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “Hosting this global conference will bring significant social, cultural and economic benefit to our city and our region, reinforcing our position as a global community, and further strengthening our ties as global citizens.”
On September 11, 2017, Markham Council voted to support the Hakka Canadian Association in the bidding for hosting rights for the 31st World Hakka Conference in October 2021. Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Regional Councillor Joe Li, joined HCA to participate in the 29th World Hakka Conference in Hong Kong last October.
The Hakkas (directly translated to “guest families”) are a unique ethnic group of “Han” Chinese that are considered to be one of the earliest settlers near the Yellow River in China. In a series of migrations over time, the Hakkas have dispersed to many countries around the world and are esteemed for their cohesion, inclusion and distinct socio-cultural characteristics.
The strong support provided by the city was essential to the association winning the bid. As Canada’s most diverse city, with a Hakka population of more than 15,000, Markham is expected to host 3,000 delegates from over 20 countries including, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Mauritius, United States, United Kingdom, France, Trinidad, Jamaica and Brazil.
The conference will be held over four days, providing a unique opportunity for Markham to showcase the city’s diversity, and generate substantial economic benefits for the community.
On September 20, 2013, Li initiated the establishment of the first-ever cross jurisdictional Hakka Economic & Cultural Alliance in the City of Markham. As a Hakka himself from India, he has supported this initiative to unite Hakka cities to foster economic and cultural ties through commonality and connections.
“I am incredibly humbled that the City of Markham was chosen to host the 2021 World Hakka Conference,” says Regional Councillor and Chairman of the Hakka Canadian Association, Joe Li. “Not only will this allow Hakka leaders from around the world to connect and strengthen cultural ties, the conference will also garner international exposure of the Hakka culture, bring communities together, strengthen economic ties and further promote Markham’s focus on diversity and inclusion.”
The World Hakka Conference is one of the major Hakka international events, providing a platform for global Hakka leaders to meet and promote greater awareness of Hakka culture
The City of Markham is Canada’s most diverse city, with about half of the population coming to the community from outside of Canada, nearly 60 per cent of residents speaking a first language other than English and 77.9 per cent of residents identifying themselves as a visible minority.
Photo: Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Regional Councillor Joe Li are joined by members of the Hakka Canadian community to announce that Markham will host the 31st World Hakka Conference in 2021.