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Contact(s):Scott Carter
501-371-4421

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Monday, October 27, 2008

LITTLE ROCK WELCOMES LORD MAYOR, CITY COUNCILLORS, YOUTH FROM NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, UNITED KINGDOM

(Monday, October 27, 2008) – The City of Little Rock officially welcomed a delegation from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, United Kingdom in a ceremony at Little Rock City Hall today. The delegation is here under the auspices of Little Rock’s Sister Cities Commission. Little Rock and Newcastle have been Friendship Cities since 1999.

“Little Rock and Newcastle-upon-Tyne have much in common,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. In addition to being cultural and governmental centers, both cities have rivers which are important in trade. Each city is also in the process of redefining itself as a center for technological innovation.”

“We are pleased to be visiting Little Rock,” said Lord Mayor David Wood. “Each time I have been here, I have been impressed by the warmth and generosity of the citizenry. Both cities are experiencing revitalization of older areas. We look forward to continuing dialogue and sharing ideas.”

Joining Lord Mayor Wood in the delegation are his wife, Lady Mayoress Margaret Wood, who is also a member of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council; Councillor John Stokel-Walker, and Councillor Nick Kemp.

While in Little Rock, the delegation will be visiting with representatives from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Secretary of State’s Office, UAMS, Riverfest, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Little Rock Housing and Neighborhood Programs Department; Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation, Heifer International, the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, and UALR. Also on the itinerary are tours of the Clinton Presidential Center, the River Market, and the Arkansas Arts Center. 

Concurrent to the visit from the official delegation, six youths and two adult sponsors from Newcastle are in Little Rock for a youth exchange. In 2001 and again in 2004, youth from Newcastle have visited Little Rock. In 2007, youth from Little Rock visited Newcastle.

The youth itinerary includes a tour of the Clinton Presidential Center, the ExCEL program at the 4-H Center, a meeting and tour with Black Community Developers, an afternoon at P.A.R.K., and a day of service projects with various homeless service providers, While in Little Rock, the youth will also attend a high school football game and tour haunted houses on Halloween.

The Little Rock Sister Cities Commission works to foster relationships between Little Rock and its Sister Cities to promote mutual cross-cultural understanding and exchanges. The commission will cultivate this environment by serving as a conduit for potential business and educational collaboration and offering unique experiences in international arts and culture.

The 13-member commission, which is appointed by the Little Rock Board of Directors, is responsible for maintaining relationships with our Sister Cities. Commissioners are appointed to five-year terms on the commission. The duties of the Commission are to develop guidelines and programs for Sister City relationships, to further public awareness of other cultures, emphasizing cultural, historical and economic development with Little Rock’s Sister Cities.

Sister Cities are selected on the basis of common interests that may relate to cultural, educational, or commercial relationships. Where possible, there has been an attempt to match the size of the Sister City with that of Little Rock. Each relationship carries a sense of potential, as future interchanges may lead to greater benefits.

Little Rock's sister cities are: Kaohsiung, Taiwan (established April 19, 1983); Hanam City, Korea (established May 19, 1992); Changchun, China (established April 5, 1994); Ragusa, Italy (established May 21, 1997); and Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico (established February 20, 2007).

In addition, Little Rock has two Friendship Cities. La Petite Pierre, France (established July 19, 1999) and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England (established July 24, 1999).

For more information, visit the Little Rock Sister Cities Website: www.lrsistercities.org.

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