The first week-long "Nashville in Belfast" program, showcasing Music City's music, food, culture and business, reached more than 30,000 Belfast residents and was a great success. Musical performances by Mandy Barnett, The Willis Clan, Brian Pounds and two-time Grammy winner Kristian Bush of the duo Sugarland took the sounds of Nashville to various venues in the city. The Nashville delegates staffed a Music City booth at St. George's Market for two nights, providing tourist information and giveaways. There, Michael King of Monell's also did culinary demonstrations and tastings. Delegates had sector meetings to further connections between Belfast and Nashville youth programs, soccer, healthcare, technology, higher education and law.
Eleven delegates from Caen, France joined us for a week of cultural and educational activities in May. While these have typically been legal exchanges for many years, a potential new outcome emerged from this recent visit. There is an initiative to begin a pharmacy student and medical student exchange. The delegates also enjoyed Nashville's dining scene, a Sounds baseball game, a visit to the Civil Rights room at the downtown library and a tour of Belle Meade Plantation.
Nashville artists Martica Griffin and Andee Rudolf were selected to participate in a Magdeburg, Germany artist symposium hosted by H20Turmpark and to collaborate with artists from Magdeburg and its other sister city Le Havre, France. The artists shared studio space, techniques and ideas. The week culminated in an exhibition. Several of Martica and Andee's pieces remain on display in Magdeburg.
The Second Annual Ramen Showdown to benefit Sister Cities of Nashville took place on April 9 at Otaku Ramen. Chefs from Two Ten Jack and Otaku Ramen prepared unique ramen dishes in this ramen "duel" and served 250 guests. The event preceded Nashville's Tenth Annual Cherry Blossom Festival held in the downtown public square on April 14. Metro Council member and Sister Cities board member Mina Johnson drafted a resolution proclaiming April as Nashville's Cherry Blossom month and also noting the strong ties between Nashville and our sister city Kamakura. ..
This spring, Sister Cities hosted student and teacher groups from Taiyuan, China; Mendoza, Argentina; and Magdeburg, Germany. Students stay with host families, attend school a few days, volunteer with a local non-profit for a day, meet Nashville's Mayor David Briley, see key historic and cultural sites and attractions, attend a sporting event and just generally have fun learning what life is like for teenagers in Nashville.
In March, Sister Cities delegates traveled to Mendoza, Argentina for a week of cultural and professional activities. The highlight was attending the city's 80th Annual Vendimia (grape harvest) festival Mayor Suarez hosted the group for a reception and tour of city hall and members of the group had the opportunity to meet with other Mendoza Council members and city administrators..
Sister Cities welcomed members and new friends to our Annual Membership Appreciation Reception on January 31. Additionally, 9 new board members were officially voted in per the membership. Vice Mayor David Briley welcomed guests, who enjoyed international fare and, live music from visiting Cuban artists.
Sister Cities welcomed three delegates from Taiyuan to Nashville for the graphene industry conference at the Music City Center. They also met with Vanderbilt Medical Center about training opportunities for doctors from Taiyuan Hospital Number Two. While the visit was primarily business, our guests had some time to check out the honky tonks on lower Broadway and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Metro Council member Sheri Weiner hosted a dinner in their honor, serving traditional Southern fare.
At our annual World of Friendship dinner reception and silent auction on October 20 at BMI, Sister Cities honored Doug Berry for his work in supporting our mission while promoting cross cultural understanding, peace and tolerance. Doug served as board president for ten years and was instrumental in forging our partnership with Magdeburg, Germany. Special guest for the evening was The Honorable Bill Hagerty, U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Ambassador Hagerty shared highlights of his recent trip to our sister city Kamakura, Japan and talked about the importance of people to people connections in today's global climate.
Delegates from Nashville attended and participated in the annual Belfast Homecoming in October 2017. Delegates attended meetings in higher education, creative industries, and law. The group enjoyed a reception at the home of U.S. Consul General Dan Lawton as well as a gala dinner at City Hall with the Lord Mayor, City Councillors and special guests.
Sister Cities of Nashville
Sister Cities of Nashville connects the people of Nashville to people of the world, promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation - one person, one community at a time.