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Goodbye Sister Cities Committee

Original post made by Jim Lewis, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Nov 13, 2020

Say goodbye to your Menlo Park Sister City Committee, as it was DISSOLVED by unanamous vote of all five City Council members on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. Placed on the Consent Calendar, with no discussion, it was voted unanamously.

Established in year 2015, the Sister City Committee had grown to include four international cities located in Ireland, Japan, China and India. The city in Ireland known as Galway, has cultural ties to the City of Menlo Park going back over 150 years. Mayors from both cities have visited one another, including former Mayor Peter Otakhi who signed the first Friendship Agreement with Galway in year 2013 and was later elevated to a full fledged Sister City Agreement on June 3, 2016. Often times St. Patrick's Day had a special meaning with the Mayor of Galway, Ireland visiting Menlo Park during the month of March.

The City Council's intent is for an independent, 501(c)3 non-profit to replace the City's program. Whether this will ever happen and by whom is unknown. What will happen in the interim is unknown. What will become of the exchange of gifts, travel artifacts and other valued items and documents is unknown. For years, Menlo Park and Bizen, Japan enjoyed a student exchange, whereby approx. 10 students traveled to the other country. Wonderful memories and cultural appreciation was the result. That program was part of the Committee's workplan. It's stopped, unless another group decides to continue the hard work to organize it.

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