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Building partnerships and promoting Seattle’s interests Nick Harper, Acting Director
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Office of Intergovernmental Relations
600 Fourth Avenue, 5th Floor
P.O. Box 94746
Seattle, WA   98124-4746
(206) 684-0213

Sister City Visit to Reykjavik

Councilmembers Jan Drago and Tom Rasmussen led a mission to Reykjavik that was the first in the sister city's 22-year history to include elected officials.  The 18 member delegation also included Ray Stephanson (mayor of Everett, whose parents are from Iceland), Dave Somers (Snohomish County Council) and Jon Marvin Jonsson (consul for Iceland in Seattle), along with other members of the Seattle sister city association. 

Highlights of the mission included a welcome reception featuring Washington state wines (provided at reduced cost by Chateau Ste Michelle and shipped at no cost by Cargolux), a briefing by the Deputy Head of Mission of the US Embassy (who co-sponsored the welcoming reception), a one-hour meeting with the President of Iceland (who spent 6 months in Seattle in 1997 during his wife's ultimately unsuccessful fight against leukemia) and a dinner with the Mayor of Reykjavik and the US Ambassador to Iceland.

The sister city association worked hard to include meetings that could lead to greater cooperation between Seattle and Reykjavik, particularly in the areas of innovation and research.  The itinerary included visits to/meetings with the following Reykjavik organizations:  Hellisheidi Geo-thermal power plant;  Marel Food Systems (producer of high-tech equipment for cutting, weighing and packaging fish and meats, which has an office in Edmonds); the Iceland Chamber of Commerce and Trade Council of Iceland; deCODE Genetics (a global leader in gene discovery that has a research facility on Bainbridge Island); Lazy Town Studios (producers of a children's TV program about exercise and healthy eating habits that has been shown on Nickelodeon and other TV programs around the world); and Ossur, a world leader in prosthetics, braces and supports.

In each meeting discussions touched upon opportunities to expand ties with relevant organizations and companies in the Seattle area. Reykjavik Mayor Olafur Magnusson is planning to lead a delegation to Seattle in the near future.

Seattle Sister Cities delegation with the president of Iceland

Seattle Sister Cities delegation with the President of Iceland

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