City leaders say the invitation was extended as a way of saying thank you for the hospitality Joplin leaders showed them during visits to our city. Since the tornado, UAE leaders have helped out by donating laptops to the Joplin High School and $5 million to Mercy Hospital.
"I think it's important because this will help build the relationships. Sometimes when disaster strikes, you don't need to worry about geographical boarders, you need to make sure you are reaching out if at all possible wherever you can, and I think this is their way of giving back for doing that," says Melodee Colbert-Kean, Mayor of Joplin.
Officials have been preparing for this trip for months, making sure everyone attending has a valid passport. Those traveling will also undergo a cultural briefing to make sure they know the customs and what to expect when they get to the UAE. This 8 day trip is entirely paid for by the United Arab Emirates Embassy. The group will leave on March 8th.