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Office of Intergovernmental Relations
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Seattle Sister Cities Association

September 2010

In This Issue

Chongqing Artisans Help Complete Seattle Chinese Garden Courtyard

By Courtney Leigh Allen

Twenty-one skilled artisans from China arrived in Seattle last month to complete the construction of the Knowing Spring Courtyard at the Seattle Chinese Garden.

The 50-foot by 70-foot entry courtyard will welcome visitors, and is the garden’s first major structure. A local contractor built the basic infrastructure and foundation. Among the group of artisans are skilled woodworkers, stone carvers and experts in traditional Chinese architecture. They will craft the tile-roofed walkways, elaborate welcoming gate, intricate windows, patterned paving, and rockery.

“The artisans are here to turn the raw space into a beautiful Chinese courtyard,” said Sandy Marvinney, Communications Committee chair of the Seattle Chinese Garden Society, which leads the project, and board member of the Seattle- Chongqing Sister City Association.

The public will be able to watch the artisans at work during construction and visit the finished courtyard by late November. An official opening and dedication is slated for spring, after the trees and shrubbery have been planted.

Funding courtyard construction has been a true public–private partnership with support from the city, county, state, Municipality of Chongqing, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

But the Knowing Spring Courtyard is just one of the elements planned for the garden. Sitting on 4.6 acres, it will include – when completed – a tea house by the lotus pond, a three-story pavilion great for viewing Elliot Bay, downtown Seattle and the Olympics and Cascades, a large gathering hall for community events, a rushing stream, bamboo groves, pine and maple trees and other

plants native to China. The next step in garden construction is under review.

“We could build any number of different elements, depending on funding and what elements are most exciting to the community,” said Marvinney.

It is the community that the SCG exists to serve. The first traditional Chinese garden of its kind in the area, the project grew out of the sister city relationship between Seattle and Chongqing and was first proposed at a meeting in Chongqing in 1986. Every stage, from site selection to master plan design, environmental impact assessment and building permits, has taken time. In China, gardens often took decades to complete, and some continued to evolve over centuries.

Photo Credit: Sandy Marvinney
Photo Credit: Sandy Marvinney
Eighteen artisans visit the site of the Knowing Spring Courtyard after their arrival in Seattle. The artisans will assist with the rest of the construction.

“The Chinese Garden is the certainly the biggest Seattle-Chongqing project and one of the most important because it reflects the strong tie between our cities and between our region and China,” Marvinney said.

Visit for more information.

A digital rendering shows what the finished Knowing Spring Courtyard will look like after construction is complete.

Bastille Day Celebrated Aboard Historic Steamship Virginia V

On July 14, 2010 the Steamship Virginia V opened her decks to delegates from Nantes and Seattle Nantes Sister City Association members, hosting a threehour Bastille Day cruise on Lake Union and Lake Washington. In honor of the occasion, the Steamship Virginia V hoisted French and city of Nantes flags up her bow.

Photo Courtesy: Virginia V Foundation
The French flag flies high on the Virginia V on July 14.

Each year on July 14, Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the Bastille, the people’s uprising against the monarchy and the French Revolution. Similar to the US Independence Day, Bastille Day is commemorated with parades, fireworks and parties. This year, the Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association celebrated a warm toast to Bastille Day Liberté, Égalité, and Fraternité aboard the colorfully French-attired Steamship Virginia V.

French and English conversation flowed as the Steamship Virginia V steamed across Lake Union and Lake Washington. Mid-way through the cruise, Jean Leblon, Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association, announced “l’heure du déjeuner” from the ship’s wheel house, harkening all on board to a tasty luncheon.

“Bastille Day on the Virginia V was more than we could have ever expected,” said Pamela Ann-Hughes, also of Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association. “We were thrilled! Everyone had such a tremendous time.”

Steamship Virginia V is a 125-foot National Historical Landmark Steamship built in 1922 to carry passengers and freight between Vashon Island, Seattle and Tacoma in Washington. The last operational wooden hull, steam-powered vessel of Puget Sound’s famed ‘Mosquito Fleet,’ Steamship Virginia V is a predecessor to the Washington State Ferries system.

In 1976, the non-profit Steamer Virginia V Foundation was formed to preserve the Virginia V. Volunteers maintain and operate the ship. Outreach to the community and maintaining an open-door policy to regional civic and community organizations is central to the Foundation’s mission.

Photo Courtesy: Virginia V Foundation
Sister city ssociation members and delegates from Nantes celebrated Bastille Day 2010 on the Steamship Virginia V.


Letter from the President

Sister Cities Sister Cities International promotes peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation. But the Seattle Sister Cities Association is not only defined by peace and mutual respect, but by the stories we have to share about relationships, cooperative programs and long term friendships that have grown between our sister cities over the years. You can see signs of the longterm friendships that have developed in the Seattle Chinese Garden currently being completed, and within the sense of family that has formed in the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association.

My relationship with the Seattle Sister Cities Association goes back to 1996 when I arranged to sponsor the first reception for the Association through my company, American Cultural Exchange. We felt there was not enough public recognition for the amazing volunteers and incredible programs in each of our 21 Sister City Associations.

Cities in Washington state are well represented with 117 relationships around the world. Four of our leaders, Seattle’s Bill Stafford and Tacoma’s Tony Anderson, Bill Evans, and Sylvia Sass – who was present in 1956 at the inaugural SCI meeting with President Dwight Eisenhower – have served on the board.

This year, our state was honored with two national awards. The Sister City Association of Spokane was awarded the Innovation in Arts and Culture Award, and the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association was honored with a Youth and Education Award.

These awards demonstrate great leadership and tremendous achievement. This fall, I encourage you to push forward towards new achievements in your associations and take part in the many sister city activities in our community.

Burton E. “Bud” Bard Jr.
Seattle Sister Cities Association

Sister Cities International
- Washington State Coordinator

Seattle Sister Cities Association

Mayor Mike McGinn, Honorary Chair

William Stafford, Chair
Burton E. “Bud” Bard Jr., President
Sally Clark, Seattle City Council
Tsering Yuthok, City of Seattle, OIR

Sandra Marvinney, Seattle-Chongqing
Richard Mander, Seattle-Christchurch
Mike James, Seattle-Perugia
Don Mills, Seattle-Mazatlan
Dan Peterson, Seattle-Tashkent
Olaf Kvamme, Seattle-Bergen
William Hahn, Seattle-Daejeon
Karin Zaugg Black, Seattle-Kobe
Michael Atmoko, Seattle-Surabaya Andrew Benjamin, Seattle-Beer Sheva

Community At Large Members:
Gary Konop, The Boeing Company
Anand Yang, UW Jackson School
Jessica Sjorgen, UPS
Autumn Lerner, World Affairs Council
Alma Plancich, Ethnic Heritage Council
Lorraine McConaghy, MOHAI
Mike McQuaid, McQuaid & Co.

Andrew L. Benjamin–Beer Sheva, Israel
Olaf Kvamme Bergen, Norway
Irene Alazas–Cebu, Phillipines
Hong Qi Wagner–Chongqing, China
Rachel Jacobsen–Christchurch, New Zealand
H. K. Lee–Daejeon, Korea
Mick McHugh–Galway, Ireland
Debra J. Markert–Gdynia, Poland
Son Michael Pham–Haiphong, Vietnam
Natacha Sesko–Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Karin Zaugg Black–Kobe, Japan
Ruperta M. Alexis–Limbe, Cameroon
Don Mills–Mazatlan, Mexico
Millie Russell–Mombasa, Kenya
Tom Bennett–Nantes, France
Maria Kramar–Pécs, Hungary
Mike James–Perugia, Italy
Margaret Hlastala–Reykjavic, Iceland
Kristoffer T. Whitters–Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Michael Atmoko–Surabaya, Indonesia
Diana Pearce–Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Courtney Leigh Allen,
Boston University ‘11

Burton E. “Bud” Bard Jr., Mike McQuaid,
Dan Peterson, Tsering Yuthok

The Seattle Sister Cities Association Newsletter is published quarterly in print and online by the Seattle Sister Cities Association in coordination with the Office of Intergovernmental Relations
of the City of Seattle. All rights reserved.

Questions or corrections? Email or visit

The Seattle Sister Cities program opens doors to establishing meaningful and lasting global friendships, partnerships, and connections. As Nelson Mandela stated during his address to the UN General Assembly, “the reality can no longer be ignored that we live in an interdependent world which is bound together to a common destiny.” People-to-people relationships not only enhance our lives, but represent our best hope for peace and prosperity in the future. Sister Cities programs raise awareness of global issues, promote greater participation in international dialogue and exchange and, by doing so, build and strengthen bridges of mutual understanding and respect.


City to City With Councilmember Sally Clark

Sally ClarkGreetings from the City Council Liaison to the Seattle Sister Cities Association!

Since assuming my role this year, I’ve had the privilege of meeting representatives from many of the sister city organizations that make Seattle a national leader in person-person international community building. The City Council takes seriously the city’s role in supporting your work with each councilmember acting as liaison to one, two or three cities. Mine are Mazatlan and Tashkent.

Through my own sister city experiences (I travelled with the entertaining Seattle group to Perugia in 2008, participated in the reciprocal Perugia visit that fall, was part of receiving a Tashkent delegation that year, recently received a group from Kobe with a beautiful calligraphy demonstration, and more), I’ve seen us foster economic development, enhance educational and cultural understanding, and produce legacy projects.

These connections mean real change. Earlier this year, the Sister Cities International program recognized Seattle groups with two impressive awards. Seattle-Gdynia received the “Innovation: Youth and Education” award recognizing its business school workshop. The Seattle-Mombasa program received a grant to improve sanitation, health and water issues in urban areas of Africa.

Seattle is lucky to have dedicated Sister City volunteers making these kinds of life-changing exchanges happen. In the first half of 2010 Seattle was honored to host the Mayor of Galway, a Kaohsiung delegation, and the Kobe delegation. We’ve hosted student exchanges from Bergen, Christchurch, and Pecs, and our delegations have visited Nantes and Pecs. A productive year so far, with many more connections to make.

Thank you all for committing yourselves to building a better world whether your work is done one city to one city or one person to one person. You make a world of difference.


Boeing Crucial to Sister Cities Success

As a global enterprise rooted in Seattle, it’s fitting that Boeing supports the goals and objectives of the Seattle Sister City Association. Boeing’s 12,000 airplanes touch down in 150 countries worldwide, and many of Seattle’s 21 sister cities are located in countries where Boeing has significant business operations.
Boeing’s support of the SSCA has been crucial to the program’s success. Two great examples are the Seattle Chinese Garden, and the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association’s project “Gdynia Business Week,” this year’s winner of Sister Cities International’s “Innovation:

Youth & Education” award. In addition to hosting a variety of sister city delegations on tours of their facilities, Boeing has also invited sister city association members to ride on commercial airline delivery flights to countries such as Poland and Uzbekistan. Additionally, by supporting the annual Sister Cities Reception, Boeing has been able to give back to the volunteers and programs that make the SSCA thrive.

Boeing remains a global leader in aerospace because – like the Seattle Sister Cities Association – they’ve placed an emphasis on the relationships that come from meeting people from different cultures, backgrounds and experiences.


Happenings Around Town

Seattle Mayor Recognizes Gdynia Business Week As The City of Seattle’s Single Best Project

Seattle-Gdynia Also Recognized by Sister Cities International

Photo Credits: Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Assoc.
(Above) Seattle Mayor McGinn presents Gdynia’s Debra Markert at the annual Sister Cities Reception last April. (Below) Students at Gdynia Business Week in 2009.

The Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association was awarded the “Innovation: Youth & Education” Award from Sister Cities International for their work with last year’s Gdynia Business Week at SCI’s Annual Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. in late July.

To celebrate this year’s Gdynia Business Week, Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association sent representatives to Poland to lead the second annual Gdynia Business Week, where 100 high school students from Poland, Seattle and Russia honed their entrepreneurial and business skills. In honor of SGSCA’s success with the event in the past, the Seattle City Council issued a proclamation naming August 22-28, 2010 as “Gdynia Week” in Seattle.

Mombasa Recieves Gates Foundation Grant

The Seattle-Mombasa Sister City Association received a two-year, $115,000 grant from Sister Cities International to implement projects to address sanitation, health and water issues in urban areas of Africa. The SMSCA was one of 17 grant recipients selected by Sister Cities International and funded through a $7.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Seattle Esperanto Society Installs Peace Pole

At their annual summer picnic on August 7, 2010, the Seattle Esperanto Society installed a Peace Pole bearing the customary “May Peace Prevail On Earth” written in English, Esperanto and fourteen other languages spoken in Seattle’s Sister Cities. The pole was a project helmed by the late James H. Parks -- longtime Seattle Esperanto Society Member.

Pécs Named European Center of Culture

Pécs was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture in 2010 by the European Union. Chosen for it’s unique character and atmosphere -- often described as the Hungarian city with a touch of Mediterranean atmosphere -- Pécs plays host to many music festivals and other cultural events every year.


Coming Attractions

Solveig Torvik Book Discussion

September 14, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle

Solveig Torvik will discuss her book, The World’s Best Place: Norway and the Norwegians, hosted by the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association.

Irish Mariners Night

September 17, 7:10 p.m.
Safeco Field

Irish music, stepdancers and bagpipers will be on hand to help the Seattle celebrate the half-way point to St. Patrick’s Day.
Reduced price tickets available at

David Laskin Lecture

October 8, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Polish Home, Capitol Hill

Laskin, a local author whose work includes a novel about Polish Immigrants who served in WWII, will be giving a lecture hosted by the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association.

Washington State Sister Cities Conference

October 16, 2010
Bellingham, WA

Please email Bud Bard at for registration information.

Polish Film Festival

November 5-14, 2010
McCaw Hall, Seattle Center

Produced by the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association, the Polish Film Festival celebrates its 18th year. Updates available online at


Sister City Brings Uzbek Culture to Seattle

UzbekTashkent, Uzbekistan is a long way from Seattle, almost all the way across the world. But the relationship between Tashkent and Seattle has been a close one since the formation of the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association -- the first Soviet-American sister city -- in 1972.

The sister city relationship supports hundreds of Uzbeks living in the Seattle area by promoting Uzbek culture, coordinating delegations and sponsoring events.

For one local Uzbek, Dilbar Akhmedova, the STSCA has made her feel ‘home’ while in Seattle. “The sister city has become my family here,” Dilbar said.

She was introduced to the sister city program by her father -- Muhammad Ali Akhmedov, a Uzbek writer who taught Uzbek language and literature at the University of Washington – and she eagerly signed up to help. “My first involvement was in 1998, when I provided Uzbek-English interpreting for an Uzbek delegation in Seattle,” Dilbar said. She has helped with delegations to Seattle and Tashkent.

“Locally, I have not only participated on the board, but also helped with the annual Novruz celebration,” she emphasized. Novruz means “new day” and is celebrated on the first day of spring. It has its roots in ancient Iran and began about 2,000 years ago. The celebration includes days of singing and dancing, preparation of special foods, and special family and neighborhood events.

The Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association recreates this tradition every year. It is an extremely important gathering time for local Uzbeks, others from Central Asia, and Seattle citizens. (The photo above captures Dilbar in her traditional “duppi” hat for Novruz.)

The sister city also tries to help Seattle citizens understand more about Uzbekistan’s Muslim culture. For example, Dilbar spoke to hundreds at the Seattle Rotary Club about Sufi Muslims in Uzbekistan.

The sister city is a key part of community support for Seattle citizens interested in Central Asia but also for the hundreds of Uzbeks in the area as well.

“Having a sister city association has been a blessing to me,” Dilbar said.


John Keane Receives Spirit of Liberty Award

KeaneThe Ethnic Heritage Council presented this year’s Spirit of Liberty Award to John Keane, longtime member of the Seattle-Galway Sister City Association. Awarded annually at the July 4th Naturalization Ceremony, the award goes to a naturalized citizen who has made tremendous contributions to the United States while maintaining their ethnic heritage.

Hailing from County Westmeath in central Ireland, Keane emigrated to the U.S. in 1967 and was naturalized in 1978. Keane has spent more than 30 years involved with a variety of Irish clubs and societies in Seattle. Keane has been involved with the SGSCA since it started in 1982, and is also involved with the Irish Heritage Club, the Society of the Friends of St. Patrick, and chairs the Irish Week Committee. Last year, Keane was appointed as Honorary Consul of Ireland in Seattle.


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