Phoenix’s award-winning Sister Cities program is looking to expand and create more economic opportunities for the city.
During the Nov. 7 Downtown Aviation, Economy and Education Subcommittee meeting, Paula West, executive director of Phoenix Sister Cities, gave the Phoenix City Council an update on the program and asked for assistance moving forward as they attempt to create Sister Cities relationships with Prague, Czech Republic and Singapore, Republic of Singapore.
In 1991 Phoenix created a Capital Cities relationship with Prague but the agreement was placed on temporary hiatus in 2008 until greater interest could be developed on the part of local authorities in Prague.
In April of 2012 Mayor Greg Stanton received a letter from the newly elected mayor of Prague expressing interest in building the relationship, West said.
In 2009, a Singapore-based company, American President Lines (APL), moved its headquarters to Phoenix. City staff has met with APL senior management to discuss economic opportunities and APL invited Phoenix to send a delegation to Singapore in November of 2013 to explore becoming a Sister City further, West said.
Phoenix Sister Cities is entirely funded by private contributions, grants and in-kind contributions and operates on volunteer hours.
The program focuses on youth and education; economic relations; arts and culture; municipal and technical cooperation; and disabilities awareness.
Many Ahwatukee Foothills students have taken part in the exchange program. They’ve had the chance to visit other countries and then have a student come to Arizona and stay with them.
Council members at the subcommittee meeting expressed only admiration for the Sister Cities program and thanked them for working with businesses to provide more opportunities for Phoenix businesses.
Councilwoman Thelda Williams said she’s a big believer in the program but wants city staff to make sure they are working together to not duplicate outreach efforts, but to work more efficiently.
Phoenix is currently Sister Cities with Calgary, Canada; Catania, Italy; Chengdu, China; Ennis, Ireland; Grenoble, France; Hermosillo, Mexico; Himeji, Japan; Ramat-Gan, Israel; and Taipei, Taiwan.
For more information on the programs, visit www.phoenixsistercities.org.
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