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.
Our friends in Magdeburg hosted the visit of a Nashville delegation from Friday, September 28, through Sunday, October 1, treating us to a level of hospitality remarkable even for them. The Thursday program included a reception by the U.S. Consul General at the Magdeburg public library followed by a dinner at the excellent Landhaus Hadrys. Activities on Friday included an expertly guided tour of the Magdeburg Cathedral and an equally enjoyable bus tour of the city. The programs for Saturday and Sunday focused on this year's 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation with visits to Luther sites in Wittenberg, Eisleben, and Mansfeld.
The main occasion for the visit was Magdeburg's second annual "Nashville Days" country music festival, which made the most of the Nashvillians present. Musician Scott Southworth contributed superb performances on both nights of the festival; Carole Bucy gave an inspiring talk on Nashville history; Nashville Oktoberfest representatives fostered links with our annual German festival; Mayor Megan Barry greeted the audience by video; and other city leaders council members Burkley Allen and Robert Swope, joined by former Nashville mayor Bill Purcell, presented a guitar signed by Mayor Barry and council members to Mayor Lutz Trümper.
The warmth and enthusiasm evident throughout the weekend on both sides brought new energy to an already strong partnership, and we are looking forward to receiving a delegation from Magdeburg in Nashville next year
On September 6, a group of nine delegates from Nashville were warmly welcomed by our friends in Caen. Our visit began with a reception attended by Eric Beaty, Economic and Commercial Attaché to Normandy, and Sara Harriger, the Consul to the region. Following the reception there was a robust legal seminar and discussion regarding the differences in the election process between France and the United States. Thursday and Friday included visits to the Priory of Saint Ortaire—Bagnoles de l’orne, a Calvados tasting at the Manor of Ducey, and tours of the Chateau de Carrouges and the Castel Canon. We also had a solemn visit to the American Cemetery. We look forward to returning the hospitality in 2018 when the delegation from Caen visits Nashville.
Inspired by the beautiful kites we saw flying on our recent trip to our sister city Taiyuan, China, we decided to have our own Kite Flying Festival. We partnered with the Cumberland River Compact who annually host the outrageously fun and energetic Dragon Boat Races in the Cumberland River. We brought our tent and beautiful Chinese kites (goldfish, dragons, swallows, lotus, octopus and more) for spectators to enjoy flying by the river. Lots of free fun and we plan to do it again next year.
Sister Cities enjoyed supporting our friends at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition InterNASHional Food Crawl on September 2. We sponsored a bus, filled it and had a great time cruising Nashville and sampling tasty international fare along the way from a variety of cuisines.
A total of 40 students and teachers from Nashville area public and private high schools participated in two-week cultural and educational exchanges with four of our sister partners this summer. The students stayed with host families, attended school, met city leaders and toured cultural attractions and historic sights. Four groups of Student Ambassadors spanned the globe to Mendoza, Argentina; Caen and Paris, France; Magdeburg and Berlin, Germany; and Tamworth and Sydney, Australia.
Belfast's Lord Mayor Brian Kingston led a delegation of elected officials and city leaders to Nashville for a series of meetings to further enhance our partnership. Best practices were shared on both sides. The group met with Mayor Barry; economic and development officials; the Convention & Visitors Corp.; Chamber of Commerce; Casa Azafran; the Metro Police Department; and the Oasis Center, among many others. Lord Mayor Kingston addressed Metro Council members during their regular meeting. He also managed to run the Titans 5K prior to his departure. Their trip culminated in a final evening enjoying the Grand Ole Opry.
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.