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.
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. Nashville's Metro Council members Jim Shulman and DeCosta Hastings shared welcoming remarks from Nashville during a Belfast City Council meeting.
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. ..
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.
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
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.