Germans continue to develop Sister City relationships with Southeastern cities, despite economic constraints that often compel them to spend their resources on partnerships closer to home, Atlanta’s Consul General Hans-Joerg Brunner told GlobalAtlanta at a breakfast meeting at the consul general’s home last week.
As part of the Atlanta consulate general’s 100th anniversary celebrations, the consulate general will honor the most recent Sister City relationship – between Nashville, Tenn., and Magdeburg, Germany – with a celebration on Monday, Sept. 13, in One Centennial Park in Nashville.
The consulate general’s anniversary, which was on Sept. 10, is to be celebrated with a number of events throughout the office’s Southeast jurisdiction. The celebration begins with an exhibit on the German consulate’s presence in Atlanta over the last 100 years at the Atlanta History Center’s McElreath Hall from Sept. 11-Oct. 31.
For other events, go to www.germany.info/atlanta100.
While the Nashville-Magdeburg Sister City partnership is an example of the ongoing interest in developing cultural and economic ties between Germany and the Southeast, Mr. Brunner said limited municipal budgets in both countries make it difficult to send delegations to distant Sister Cities.
Despite the ease and speed of electronic communication, there’s no substitute for personal contact, he said.
“People are the soul of the entire program,” said Mr. Brunner.
Concern about U.S. foreign policy in Iraq is not a factor in Germans’ interest in establishing and maintaining Sister City partnerships in the U.S., he said.
Mr. Brunner added he is very pleased with the success of the Nashville-Magdeburg Sister City partnership, which has already seen a number of cultural exchanges.
Since the charter making Nashville and Magdeburg part of the Sister Cities International network was signed in May 2003, a Nashville delegation including Mayor Bill Purcell has traveled to Magdeburg for Day of German Unity celebrations and both cities have participated in student exchange initiatives. Plans for other exchanges are underway, according to the consulate general’s office.
In April, Nashville hosted the Magdeburg “Kulturwoche,” or cultural week, which included performances by the Magdeburg Puppet Theater and the city’s Telemann Consort.
Nineteen Sister City partnerships have been established between German cities and cities under the jurisdiction of Atlanta’s German consulate office.
Sister Cities International is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate economic development, according to the organization’s mission statement.
Other American-German Sister City partnerships in the Southeast exist between Mobile, Ala. and Worms, Germany; Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Schorndorf, Germany;
Atlanta and Nurnberg, Germany; Helen, Ga. and Fussen, Germany; Marietta, Ga. and Linz am Rhein, Germany; Toccoa, Ga. and Messstetten, Germany;
Greenville, Miss. and Kronach, Germany;
Charlotte, N.C. and Krefeld, Germany; Gastonia, N.C. and Gotha, Germany; Goldsboro, N.C. and Ramstein and Miesenbach, Germany; Hickory, N.C. and Altenburg, Germany; Raleigh, N.C. and Rostock, Germany;
Arperville, S.C. and Dahme, Germany; Charleston, S.C. and Berlin and Tempelhof, Germany; Columbia, S.C. and Kaiserslautern, Germany; Newberry, S.C. and Hamm, Germany;
Chattanooga, Tenn. and Hamm, Germany; and Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport, Tenn. and Teterow, Germany.
For more information on Atlanta’s German Consulate General, contact Monika Reuter at (404) 659-4760 or email@example.com/atlanta.