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Renton Delegation Visits Nishiwaki, Japan

May 12, 2008

For more information contact:

Sonja Mejlaender, Community Relations & Events Coordinator, 425-430-6514
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director, 425-630-6569

Special Presentation to Renton City Council

RENTON-- Representatives from Renton’s official delegation to Nishiwaki, Japan, will give a special presentation to Renton City Council at 7:00 p.m. today. The presentation will include highlights and photos of delegation activities and excursions during the recent visit to Nishiwaki, one of Renton’s official Sister Cities.

The 16-member City of Renton Sister City delegation recently returned from a week-long trip to Nishiwaki, Japan in April.  Delegates met Nishiwaki's Mayor Juichi Kishi and Council, toured attractions such as local historical sites, Earth Sciences Museum, Dojiyama Cultural Center and Park, Okanoyama Museum of Art, and the Nishiwaki Museum located inside the Library.  Delegates enjoyed youth and adult percussion and dance performers, beautiful koto music, Sakura (cherry blossom trees) in full bloom and even picked strawberries.  Delegates visited the surrounding cities of Himeji and Kyoto and toured temples, shrines, Buddhist landmarks, gardens and parks, and enjoyed traditional Japanese food and tasting at a sake brewery.  Delegates were responsible for their own travel and personal expenses, but were graciously provided with home-stay accommodations in Nishiwaki.

Delegation members included Councilmember Randy Corman as the Official City of Renton Representative and Delegation Leader, Cathy Corman, Susie Corman, Julie Brewer, Stephen Brewer, Mike and Shawna Burkey, Denny Dochnahl, Dan Maryott, Sonja Mejlaender, Barbara Nilson, Roy Olson, Stanley and Gretchen Nanevicz, Carmen Unti, and Marty Wine.

Collectively, delegation members represented City of Renton elected officials and employees, the Renton School District, local business, real-estate and property developers, current and retired Boeing employees, St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Renton residents, volunteers with Communities In Schools of Renton, Renton History Museum, Allied Arts of Renton, Soroptimist, Rotary, and many more.

Renton's Sister City relationship with Nishiwaki began in 1969 when a Sister City alliance with Nishiwaki, Japan, was forged by the Renton Lions Club and other local civic organizations.   These types of alliances helped promote mutual understanding and good will between the United States and Japan.  In an effort to enhance a Sister City relationship with Nishiwaki, Japan, the Renton City Council in 1994 passed a resolution establishing an official City of Renton Nishiwaki Sister City Committee.  The Washington - Hyogo, Japan Sister State association strengthens the relationship between Renton and Nishiwaki.

Involvement and participation in Renton's two sister cities, Nishiwaki, Japan, and Cuautla, Mexico (established in 2001), enhances cultural awareness and mutual appreciation, creates lasting community friendships, provides opportunities for professional exchanges, and strengthens international relationships.

Sister city programs and activities include:

  • Expanding citizen understanding of other cultures by promoting an awareness of cultural diversity
  • Providing opportunities for social, cultural and educational enrichment 
  • Supporting humanitarian efforts 
  • Exchanging public art
  • Encouraging opportunities for tourist promotion and economic trade stimulation
  • Sharing expertise in municipal problem-solving
  • Coordinating official delegation visits   

Sister city partnerships begin between the governments of two cities, but the strength and vitality of a long-term association rests in the hands of citizen volunteers and participants.

For questions or more information about upcoming activities or how to become involved in Renton’s Sister City programs with Nishiwaki, Japan, or Cuautla, Mexico, please contact Sonja Mejlaender at the City of Renton at 425-430-6514 or by email at smejlaender@ci.renton.wa.us