Sister City 21 today!
Federation Council’s enduring friendship with Miki City has been further strengthened with the signing of a new Sister City Agreement by the two mayors, Miki’s chairperson and Federation’s general manager on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.
The big four - Mayor City of Miki Kazuhiko Nakata, Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke, Chairperson of Miki City Hirofumi Naito and Federation Council’s General Manager Adrian Butler - signed the agreement in the Corowa Civic Centre following Federation Council’s monthly meeting.
Witnessing the signing were distinguished guests, four chaperones, student delegates and host families.
Federation Council’s community, arts and cultural officer Wendy Thompson was Master of Ceremonies, ably assisted by local interpreter, Tamara Lane. Before the signings, eight Miki City students spoke in English to a wonderful video presentation of their culture.
Following the signings, a welcoming function including exchange of gifts and lunch took place in the civic centre’s art space.
The first Sister City Agreement, signed 21 years ago between Corowa Shire and Yokawa Council, created a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about each other’s cultures, and promote friendly relationships and understanding between both countries.
In 2005 Yokawa Council amalgamated with Miki City. In 2016 Corowa Shire amalgamated with Urana Shire to become Federation Council. Federation Council representatives were invited and attended last year’s 20th anniversary of the friendship. Last week’s signing reflects the new names.
Since the original agreement, 14 cultural exchanges involving 110 students and 49 attendants. All have home-stayed with families in both countries and attended respective schools.
“We were so delighted to have our Japanese friends visit Federation Council, for this really significant occasion and achievement,” Mayor Pat Bourke told The Free Press.
“It is such a good relationship and we hope it continues long into the future with mutual exchanges in education, cultural and industry, and just lasting friendships.”
This year from August 21-27 Federation Council hosted 16 visitors from Miki City. There were 10 students, 4 chaperones as well as the Mayor and Chairperson from Miki City Council.
Guests stayed with 14 host families, which enabled them to experience everyday life in an Australia household for 7 days.
The itinerary included visits to Corowa High School and Oaklands Central School where the students sat in on classes and were involved in discussions and activities.
Their visit also included a farm stay experience where our Miki City friends had the opportunity to experience rural life in Australia at a fully operational Australian farm and to be involved in the feeding of the animals, eat damper around the campfire and learn how to bush dance.
A trip to Benalla and tour of the street art and mural displays was a highlight of the Farewell function, which involved more than 50 people.
Other highpoints included attending the Corowa High School variety show, going to the local football, boating on Urana Lake, seeing boxing kangaroos and viewing the stars.
Federation Council would like to thank the host families who supported the program in 2018. There were 14 families, five local businesses and two schools directly involved. In total around sixty local people contributed to the success of this year’s exchange.
Special acknowledgement is extended to Talana Lane who, as well as hosting during the period, assisted with translation of speeches at the official functions.
Council are now looking forward to 2019 when students from Federation Council area will be given the opportunity to experience a trip to Miki City, Japan as part of the sister city culture exchange.
Signing the Sister City Agreement Left Federation Council General Manager Adrian Butler, Mayor Pat Bourke, Miki City Mayor Kazuhiko Nakata and Chairperson Hirofumi Naito.