Nine Sister City Partnerships Awarded Sustainable Development Grants

March 24 2004

Nine Sister City Partnerships Awarded Sustainable Development Grants
Posted by: aneiberger

Topic PNN Worldwide

Nine sister city partnerships were awarded $45,000 in grant funds by
Sister Cities International to fund joint projects focused on
sustainable development in Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

The grants are funded and managed by the Office of Citizen Exchanges,
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

The grant recipients are: (1) Arvada, Colo. – Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan;
(2) Bloomington-Normal, Ill. – Vladimir, Russia, (3) Cambridge, Mass.
– Yerevan, Armenia, (4) Eugene, Ore. – Irkutsk, Russia, and World
Services of La Crosse, Inc., representing (5) Blount County, Tenn. –
Zheleznogorsk, Russia, (6) Fox Cities, Wis. – Kurgan/Shchuchye,
Russia, (7) La Crosse, Wis. – Dubna, Russia, (8) Livermore, Calif. –
Snezhinsk, Russia and (9) Los Alamos, N.M. – Sarov, Russia.

Sustainable development is a key focus for the growing international
organization, say organizers. “Engaging communities in projects that
can be sustained for the long-term is important,” said Tim Honey,
executive director of Sister Cities International. The organization
began a network focused on sustainable development two years ago to
facilitate collaboration and share best practices.

Citizen exchanges will play a critical role in developing these
projects. “Ordinary citizens can transcend cultural divides and unite
across cultures to tackle a difficult problem together,” said Honey.
“Citizen diplomacy can be amazingly effective.”

These are the first grants the network has awarded. A total of
$45,000 will be distributed as $5,000 seed grants. Funded projects
will tackle issues such as micro-financing, tourism development,
economic development, government, youth education, health care and
environmental management.

Arvada, Colo. and Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan will survey water management,
power supply and community planning. The partners aim to develop an
ongoing relationship that will design and help finance improvements
to the water and power supply system in Kyzylorda through joint

Bloomington-Normal, Ill. and Vladimir, Russia are working to develop
tourism in Vladimir. They will assess and inventory existing tourism
resources, compile a tourist market profile and develop a strategic
plan for the Vladimir region.

Cambridge, Mass. and Yerevan, Armenia will develop school-based
projects on energy efficiency in both communities to educate youth
about sustainable development and focus on linking students from
opposite sides of the globe. A children’s summer camp will focus on
environmental issues and provide training to help teachers expand the
program in Yerevan.

Eugene, Ore. and Irkutsk, Russia will create an entrepreneurial
partnership to sell native Siberian artwork in the Pacific
northwestern region of the U.S. This project builds on previous art
exchanges between the two communities and will help fund future
exchange activities.

The final five sister city pairs – Blount County, Tenn. and
Zheleznogorsk, Russia, Fox Cities, Wis. and Kurgan/Shchuchye, Russia,
La Crosse, Wis. and Dubna, Russia, Livermore, Calif. and Snezhinsk,
Russia and Los Alamos, N.M. and Sarov, Russia – funded through this
program are part of a unique consortium called the Communities for
International Development. Under the management of World Services of
La Crosse, the consortium will sponsor exchanges to Russia to conduct
planning sessions and develop a strategic plan addressing education,
economic development, federalism, health and the environment.

Representing more than 2,400 communities in 123 countries, Sister
Cities International is a citizen diplomacy network creating and
strengthening partnerships between the U.S. and communities abroad.
Begun in 1956 after a White House summit where U.S. President Dwight
D. Eisenhower called for people-to-people exchanges, sister city
partnerships are tailored to local interests and increase global
cooperation at the grassroots level. Sister Cities International
promotes peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation
by focusing on sustainable development, youth and education, arts and
culture, humanitarian assistance and economic growth programs.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of
State conducts over 30,000 exchanges annually, bringing professionals
and academics to the United States as well as sending Americans
abroad for study and research. The Bureau supports programs that
promote respect and mutual understanding between the people of the
United States and the people of other countries.