Sis­ter City 21 to­day!

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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