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Atlanta Welcomes Sister Cities Members.

More than 600 delegates representing 37 states and 20 countries participated in a display of cultures and camaraderie at the 43rd Annual Sister Cities International (SCI) Conference in Atlanta, Ga., July 25 - 28, 2001.

In his welcome to the delegates, Atlanta's Mayor Bill Campbell said, "For more than 40 years, the sister cities movement has brought this vast world of ours down to human scale -- helping to make it a world where strangers become friends. In human relations, there is no substitute for that personal, one-on-one contact with someone from another culture. Once we get beyond differences and embrace similarities, everyone can become a friend and everywhere becomes our neighborhood."

The Right Honorable David Trimble, former first minister of the power sharing home-rule government in Northern Ireland, and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, delivered an outstanding keynote addresses. He discussed ongoing attempts to bring a lasting peace to the conflict in Northern Ireland, and suggested that the very human relationships built by sister city leaders continue to bring people together peacefully in a way that governments often cannot.

A second featured speaker was Mary Jean Eisenhower, executive director of People to People International and granddaughter of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the creator of the sister cities movement. Eisenhower shared her personal memories of her grandfather, and commented that he would be very proud to see where SCI is today as it continues to respond to the call for international peace and diplomacy.

Sister Cities used the occasion of its annual meeting to launch its International Community Resource Center (ICRC). This online center, available at www.sistercities.org, features translation software in seven languages for e-mail and other documents, links to funding resources, and searchable programmatic and contact information on all sister cities. Conference participants were able to explore this state-of-the-art membership benefits at the Technology Showcase.

A series of partnership agreements were signed by SCI with Friendship Force International, Counterpart International and the Australian Sister Cities Association. These formal agreements represent the future of SCI, as it looks towards a new era of collaborative projects with like-kind organizations.

Significant contributions to the future of Sister Cities International were made by two of the organization's vice presidents -- Mary Palko and Nancy Huppert. Palko provided a gift of US$35,000 to endow a fellowship program to operate and enhance the online International Community Resource Center, and Huppert provided a gift of equal amount to endow a fellowship for program development.
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Author:Brookes, James
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 13, 2001
Words:412
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