The head of Delaware’s Sister City advisory board recently outlined the progress it has made in its second year and the status of Delaware’s relationships with four foreign cities.
“The most interesting development is that Delaware City Schools is going to adopt a Global Scholars Diploma Program,” said Rand Guebert, Sister City chair, at an Aug. 10 City Council meeting. The program, put on by the Columbus Council on World Affairs, gives high school students a chance to do international projects and work with companies like Battelle and Honda.
Hayes High School plans to start the program in the 2016-17 school year, Guebert said.
“This is a great program, since the kids have to do an international project, perhaps they can work with our sister cities,” he said.
Ohio Wesleyan University was acknowledged for its role in establishing sister cities.
“All of our sister city relationships have started in some way with Ohio Wesleyan,” Guebert. “That’s a big resource for us.”
Last fall, Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle wrote letters to the mayors of Arequipa, Peru, and Sakata, Japan, inquiring about becoming sister cities. “We’ve had some contact with them. It’s going to take longer to develop than I thought,” Guebert said. “This isn’t unusual in international business.”
Delaware has two official sister cities: Omutninsk, Russia, and Baumholder, Germany.
“We hadn’t had much contact with Omutninsk for about eight years, but we were able to get back in touch with people there,” Guebert said. Hayes and the high school in Omutninsk will exchange videos, he said.
Although the high school in Baumholder has closed, Hayes may resume a student exchange in 2016-17 with either neighboring Kusel or Birkenfeld. In addition, the OWU soccer team will visit Baumholder in summer 2016.
“I see lots of opportunities to develop our relationship with Baumholder,” Guebert said. “We’ve made a good start in our second year.”
The Sister City advisory board currently has eight members and one vacancy. It meets the second Tuesday of each quarter.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.