Office of Intergovernmental Relations
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
“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 www.seattlechinesegarden.org for more information.
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
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
Letter from the President
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.
City to City With Councilmember Sally Clark
Greetings 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.
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.
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.
Solveig Torvik Book Discussion
September 14, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Irish Mariners Night
September 17, 7:10 p.m.
David Laskin Lecture
October 8, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Washington State Sister Cities Conference
October 16, 2010
Polish Film Festival
November 5-14, 2010
Sister City Brings Uzbek Culture to Seattle
Tashkent, 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
The 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.