Tacoma will host international Sister Cities conference next year

UPDATED @ 12:43 P.M.

Tacoma has been selected to host the Sister Cities International Regional Conference next year.

According to Tacoma’s community and economic development department director Ryan Petty, Tacoma beat out other cities, including Portland, Ore., in a competitive bid to host the conference.

“The local and regional attractions, rich culture of the city and strong funding base are among the reasons Tacoma was selected,” wrote Sister Cities officials in its letter announcing the selection, according to Petty. He shared the information in an April 3 memo to Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax ( http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/cityclerk/Files/CityCouncil/CMOWeeklyReport/2012/WklyReport20120405.pdf ). “We are confident that Tacoma will serve as a great host for municipal officials, civic leaders, youth, and nationwide guests to make the 2013 regional conference an unforgettable experience.”

Additionally, Tacoma’s Sister City Program learned this week it will receive “Leading Asia: Renewing the U.S. and Japan Sister Cities Network” funding through Sister Cities International’s Japan Exchange Program to help pay for a project that will train local landscape architects and gardeners in the art of Japanese garden design, noted Petty in his memo. The goal is to work jointly with Metro Parks Tacoma to redesign the Japanese Garden at Point Defiance Park. Metro Parks plans to redo the garden in the next few years.

The funding will also enable a 10-day Tacoma delegation visit to the Japanese sister city of Kitakyushu.

The Tacoma-Kitakyushu sister city relationship, formalized in 1959, boasts visits between the two cities nearly every year. The Leading Asia exchange funding program was awarded to a total of 12 U.S. cities. The Leading Asia: Renewing the U.S. and Japan Sister Cities Network is funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnerships. The objective of this grant award is to improve and expand existing relationships between the U.S. and Japan.

The Tacoma Sister Cities program aims to promote cultural and political diversity. Sister Cities exchanges encourage exchange between business, governments, health, arts, cultural and educational groups and organizations. The City of Tacoma has eleven Sister Cities, all of which are either port cities or have other aspects similar or complementary to Tacoma’s economic character.

For more information, visit http://www.tacomaculture.org/international/sistercities.asp .