Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Richmond City Council Sister City Commission Welcomes Japanese High School Students and Educators

RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL Richmond City Council – Richmond City Hall - 900 E. Broad Street, Suite 200 - Richmond, VA 23219 - www.council.richmondva.gov COUNCIL PUBLIC INFORMATION NEWS ADVISORY IMMEDIATE RELEASE TO BE FORWARDED AND SHARED Wednesday, 25 March 2015 Richmond City Council Sister City Commission Welcomes Japanese High School Students and Educators Education delegation from Richmond’s Sister City, Saitama, Japan, visits the Richmond Area for one week as part of scholastic exchange program. WHAT (Richmond, Virginia) – The Richmond City Council Sister Cities Commission will welcome high school students and two teachers from Urawa Municipal High School in Saitama, Japan, as part of the Richmond City Council Sister Cities Commission Educational Exchange, a student, academic, sports, and cultural exchange program with Saitama, Japan. Partners for this exchange include the Richmond City Council Sister Cities Commission, Virginia Asian Foundation, and the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce. WHEN / Richmond Sister Cities Commission Educational Exchange Delegation’s WHERE Schedule of Events Welcoming Ceremony: Richmond City Council, City of Richmond Administration, and Richmond Public Schools Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. (estimated time of arrival) Richmond City Council Chambers, Richmond City Hall 900 East Broad Street, Second Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219 Welcoming Ceremony: Maymont Japanese Gardens Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. (estimated time of arrival) Maymont Japanese Gardens 1700 Hampton Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220 Welcoming Ceremony: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. (estimated time of arrival) Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 200 North Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia 23220 CONTACT For more event information, please contact: Ms. Catherine E. Nexsen, Chairman, Richmond Sister Cities Commission, Richmond, Virginia-Saitama, Japan, at 804.355.2780 (tel); 919.902.4704 (mobile) saitamajapanrichmondvirginia@yahoo.com (email); Background on the Richmond City Council Sister Cities Commission ______________ The Richmond City Council Sister Cities Commission was established by Richmond City Council in 1980 and consists of 13 members. One of more than 50 boards, task forces, and commissions created to assist Richmond City Council with providing oversight of certain projects and priorities, the Sister Cities Commission operates under Council guidelines as well as the requirements of the Sister Cities International organization, located in Washington, D.C. An early champion of international relations, Richmond began a relationship with its namesake, Richmond upon Thames, England, in 1930. In 1956, a formal Sister City concept was established in the United States of America by U. S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Eisenhower's idea called for exchanges between Americans and the peoples of other countries, with a goal of fostering peace, understanding, and harmony. The term “Sister City” is used to express a closeness that is engendered through commonalities between communities. Formal friendships are then established to promote cultural understanding and educational and economic prosperity. For example, cities linked with Richmond are generally cities with comparable populations, notable points of historic interest, and potential opportunities for economic development and trade. Richmond Sister City Relationships Richmond currently maintains the following Sister City relationships: 1. Richmond upon Thames, England (Europe) 2. Saitama City, Japan (Asia) 3. Windhoek, Namibia (Africa) 4. Zhengzhou, China (Asia) 5. Segou, Republic of Mali (Africa) Interest Throughout the year, Richmond City Council receives requests from residents and interested cities regarding its Sister Cities Program, which are shared with the Commission. Some Examples of Sister Cities Activities _________________________________________ Segou, Republic of Mali (Africa) Richmond’s partnership with Segou, Republic of Mali, is Richmond’s newest Sister City relationship. Richmond and the city of Segou became Sister Cities following the adoption of Richmond City Council Resolution 2009-R99-109, adopted July 27, 2009, that invited Segou to become a formal Sister City of Richmond. The relationship was formalized in Richmond on October 12, 2009, with a visiting delegation of dignitaries from Segou. In April 2010 Richmond was awarded a grant of $115,000 by Sister Cities International for a two-year African Sustainability Project to address sanitation, health, and water issues in Segou. On May 10, 2010, Richmond City Council received and welcomed a visiting delegation from the Republic of Mali. The delegation included six members of the country’s government, who were in Richmond for the day as part of a government training program sponsored by the Institute for Global Training, and USAID in Washington D.C. The delegation was also shown state and local government by the Virginia Institute of Government, part of the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center. On October 6, 2010, the Richmond City Council Sister Cities Commission, along with members of Richmond City Council and the Richmond Government Administration, welcomed The Honorable Ousmane K. Simaga, Mayor of Segou, Republic of Mali (Africa); The Honorable Madani Sissoko, Councilman, Segou, Republic of Mali (Africa), President of the Segou Sister City Commission; and a number of additional dignitaries from Segou, Republic of Mali (Africa), during its monthly meeting. Richmond upon Thames, England (Europe) In 2007 Richmond was honored with a visit from the Mayor and Councilmembers from Richmond upon Thames, Richmond’s Sister City in England. The delegation visited in the coordination and planning of events leading up to Virginia’s 400th Anniversary celebration in 2007. The following year, Richmond was again honored with a visit from the Mayor and Councilmembers from Richmond upon Thames in 2008. Zhenghou, China (Asia) Richmond continues supporting teacher exchanges and exchanges of art and culture through museums, and economic trips to China (conducted by the Governor of Virginia with representation from Richmond). A book collection was presented to Richmond citizens from Zhengzhou citizens, which is displayed at the Richmond Public Library - Main Library. Saitama, Japan (Asia) The Sister Cities of Richmond, Virginia and Saitama, Japan continue their annual student, academic, sports, and cultural exchange programs. • Richmond has an ongoing annual baseball exchange with Saitama, which began in Richmond in 1994 and rotates each year from Richmond to Saitama. (Note: The 2011 exchange was canceled due to the tragic earthquake and tsunami that severely impacted Japan.) • From August 3-8, 2012 Richmond welcomed Japanese Little League Baseball team players for the 18th Richmond City Council Sister Cities Richmond-Saitama International Junior Baseball Exchange. This exchange marked the return of the annual event for the first time since 2010, as the 2011 events were canceled due to the tragic earthquake and tsunami that severely impacted Japan. During their week-long stay, the little leaguers enjoyed international cultural exchange, and played baseball games with Little League teams in the Richmond area. The visiting Saitama team included 17 players, one City Official, four coaches, and an emergency technician. The games and friendships fostered during the little leaguers’ visit to Richmond are sterling examples of the partnership and collaboration between Richmond and Saitama. • On June 23, 2012, three educators from Saitama, Japan, visited Richmond for two weeks as part of the Richmond Sister Cities Commission Educational Exchange program. That visit marked the 13th year of this successful educational exchange program, which began in 1998. • In March of 2012, 10 high school students and two teachers from Urawa Municipal High School in Saitama, Japan, visited Richmond to as part of a week-long Richmond Sister Cities Commission Educational Exchange program. Windhoek, Namibia (Africa) • August 2007: the U.S. State Department brought a camera crew to Richmond from Windhoek, Namibia, and coordinated events. • July 2003: Richmond donated a Fire Truck to Windhoek. For more information regarding the Richmond City Council Sister Cities Commission, please visit its website, at http://www.richmondgov.com/CommissionSisterCities/index.aspx - E N D - Jason E. Hundley Council Public Relations Specialist RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL OFFICE OF THE COUNCIL CHIEF OF STAFF 900 E. Broad Street, Suite 305 Richmond, VA 23219 804.646.5420 (office) 804.797.9699 (mobile) Jason.Hundley@richmondgov.com www.council.richmondva.gov www.facebook.com/RichmondCityCouncilVirginiaUSA (facebook) MISSION The mission of Richmond City Council is to represent citizens in creating and amending local laws, providing government policy and oversight, and approving the city budget. VISION Richmond City Council is committed to creating a vibrant community that is a great place to live, work, learn, play, visit and raise a family.

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