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August 31, 2010 > Twinning ceremony

Twinning ceremony

By Shavon Walker

Photo by Shavon Walker

Mayor Mark Green of Union City and Mayor Jianliang Sheng of Liyang, China, signed a "Twinning" Agreement in English and Chinese during the Union City Council Meeting on August 24, 2010. Liyang is Union City's fifth sister city alongside Pasay City, Philippines; Santa Rosita, Mexico; Jalandhar, India; and Chiang Rai, Thailand.

The sister city-formation process typically involves an exchange of Letters of Intent followed by an official visit between the two cities at which a "Twinning Ceremony" is performed. The ceremony serves primarily as a public forum for a Twinning Agreement, signed by both cities. The City of Liyang held its Twinning Ceremony for Union City during its April Tea Festival.

Union City's Friends of Sister Cities Committee manages the relationships with each sister city and consists of representatives for each city, such as Dang Guio (Chiang Rai) and Herj Virk (Jalandhar). All members are volunteers and the committee's activities are funded by local community members and businesses. Meetings are held as recommended. The goal is to spread peace through friendship and to enhance cultural and business relationships with other cities.

Union City first became acquainted with the idea of partnering with Liyang when a delegation visited Liyang for the first time in November 2009. In February 2010, Council voted to formalize the relationship and the delegation returned to Liyang to execute a Memorandum of Understanding, or Letter of Intent, to become sister cities. Once the Twinning Ceremonies and Twinning Agreements took place, Union City was ready to welcome Liyang into the family fold.

Liyang has a 2,200-year history and is home to a number of industries - electronics, telecommunications, equipment manufacturing for power transmission and transformation, engineering of machinery and automotive parts, bio medicine and fine chemicals, construction materials, industrial food processing, agriculture and tourism. All are potential trade areas for Union City businesses.

"Today, I'm very pleased to be here in Union City. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Mayor Mark Green, Helen Kennedy, and the members of the Friends of Sister Cities Committee for their generous acceptance and hard work. I hope that through our Twinning Ceremony, we can encourage foreigners to visit Liyang and understand Liyang," stated Mayor Jianliang Sheng.

Mayor Green joked about the limited amount of space to display the Sister City flags.

"I'm looking at our back wall here and I see we're running out of space to display our sister cities' flags but we'll have a spot for the flag from China," joked Mayor Green. "The Union City and the Liyang delegations have thoroughly enjoyed the three days we've spent together. I look forward to the business opportunities and the cultural exchanges."

Gifts were exchanged by both delegations. Union City Council received a large watercolor drawing of Tian Mu Lake and boxes of Liyang tea. Liyang's delegates received the key to the City of Union City and bottles of California wine. A reception was held in the City Hall foyer where a cake decorated with both countries' flags and a copy of the Twinning Agreement was served.

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