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Orange County Digest

IRVINE : Sister Cities to Focus on Mutual Problems

April 05, 1993|TOM McQUEENEY

The city will host an international sister-city conference in June linking representatives from 30 countries interested in solving mutual problems.

The three-day conference, funded by the International Sister Cities Foundation through a Japanese government grant, will create a three-year, trilateral exchange program involving sister cities in Japan, the United States and a third country, said Stella Cardoza, Irvine's sister-city coordinator.

The goal is for groups of three cities each to work on mutual problems, such as handling pollution. In the second year, the cities will exchange interns for four weeks or longer for studies and discussions of city problems.

In the program's final year, representatives from the cities will meet in Japan to discuss their findings, Cardoza said.

Sister Cities International selected Irvine to host the conference because of its central location and its successful sister-city relationships with cities in Japan and Mexico, said John Donaldson, director of the Trilateral Exchange Program.

Irvine has had several sister-city exchanges with Hermosillo, Mexico, and Tsukuba, Japan.

"Some of the things Hermosillo and Irvine have done (are) a good model of north-south partnership," Donaldson said.

Irvine's relationships with its sister cities revolve mostly around improving commercial relationships or learning how each city handles engineering or development problems, he said. Sometimes, he added, sister-city relationships become paternalistic or merely social.

To be selected for the trilateral exchange program, United States cities had to have sister-city relationships with a city in Japan and a third city elsewhere.

The program will bring those three cities together, which will help form a new sister-city relationship between the Japanese city and the other city, Donaldson said.

The nine other U.S. cities involved are Los Angeles, Redlands, Santa Barbara and San Jose in California; Stillwater, Okla.; New Brunswick, N.J.; Duluth, Minn.; Battle Creek, Mich., and Portland, Ore.

Besides the 10 cities from Japan, cities from Brazil, Hungary, Mexico, Russia, Costa Rica and Zimbabwe will form the triads.

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