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Sister Cities as Asian Century Brokers

The following letter was published in The Christchurch Press on Friday 11th January, 2013.

It was written in response to heated letters and online comments around the Mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker, travelling to a series of sister cities in the United States and Asia, including China. The letter seeks to shift debate beyond defense and attack on the status quo into a third level around the question, “how more might be made of sister city relationships?”

Two of Christchurch’s sister cites, which Mayor Bob Parker will visit, include Seattle in the United States, and Wuhan in China.

When they incorporate the internet, sister city/area programs in one area can help broker networking and collaborations between other sister areas/cities.

Readers of Village-Connections blogs will soon see how this letter reflects and condenses, in 150 words, a lot of what the blogs elaborate in more detail. I could refer particularly to the blog Innovative Sister City Networking for Global Solutions

The letter as published:

Better sisters

The sister-city debate needs to move beyond just retaining or opposing the status quo, by exploring, instead, how more might be made of sister-city relationships.

Realising Australia must do better in Asia, the Gillard government published a white paper, Australia in the Asian Century, endorsing direct internet connections between Australian and Asian schools, universities and business organisations, including within sister-city frameworks.

Christchurch could do even better.

Mayor Bob Parker is visiting Seattle in the US and Wuhan in China. Both are leading-edge technology development centres. Christchurch could do well by building stronger educational and technology development links with both.

Christchurch could also then begin facilitating communication and collaborations between these centres, helping to broker cutting edge technological innovation.

Congratulations to Burnside High School for its relationship with Seattle’s Chief Sealth High School, which Parker will visit.

An additional Wuhan school relationship could help blaze Christchurch’s pathway to a brighter future.

J GALLAGHER
Central Christchurch

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