The Capitals of Italy and United States, Rome and Washington Become “Sister Cities”

Italian Americans Cheers Agreement Between Rome and Washington

As of today, Washington and Rome will become closer. Not only because they are the  capitals of two friendly and allied countries, but because they have become “sister
cities.”

At the John A. Wilson Building, the historic seat of the city’s government, the Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno and the first citizen of the US capital Vincent Gray signed a “Sister City Agreement,” an accord of friendship between the two capitals, which paves the way for further exchange and cooperation, “beneficial for both cities,” stated the two mayors.

The arrival of the precious Capitoline Venus across the Atlantic sealed the partnership.
From now until September 5, it will be displayed at the prestigious National
Gallery of Art in Washington as part of the “Dream of Rome” project. During the
ceremony that preceded the signing – participants included Ambassador of Italy
in the United States Giulio Terzi and Special Representative for
Intergovernmental Affairs at the US Department of State Rita Jo Lewis – the
Mayor of Rome underscored how “today’s agreement is creating a bridge from Rome
beyond the border of Europe and the Mediterranean to cross the Atlantic.”

In fact, the two administrations “will begin to exchange information in sectors, such as
urban infrastructure, transportation, information technology, protection of
environmental and historical heritage, and tourism,” explained Alemanno. On the
horizon new opportunities are being created, in particular to train young
people also because – he underlined – “today’s agreement is aimed precisely at
the future and to create vibrant, creative, and beneficial cooperation for our
respective citizens.” Programs are being studied to develop exchanges between
the students of both cities, with the help of new technologies and the Internet.

Cooperation will also take place in the tourism sector and it will provide for, as Alemanno
explained, “mutual assistance.” In fact, tourism is an area that both capitals are interested in expanding. In 2010, Washington and the District of Columbia registered an increase of over 27 thousand people from Italy. “This is comforting data – insisted Eliott
Ferguson, CEO of Destination DC, the office of tourism in Washington – that
merits investment in the future.” “Best practices exchange – continued Vincent
Gray – will continue not only in tourism but also in protecting cultural
heritage, environmental sustainability, and mobility.”

Above all, Rome hopes that the partnership will help to overcome the challenges that lie
ahead, first and foremost, its candidacy for the 2020 Olympics. “It is not a
coincidence – stated the Mayor – that our city has been nominated for the 2020
Olympics, a challenge closely tied to the future of the city that wants to be
remembered as an ethical, sustainable, and inclusive city, and in this respect,
we feel that Washington DC is our partner and sister because we are convinced
that, in the case of our cities, our cultural heritage will also be the engine
for our future development.”

The Mayor of Rome was met with particularly warm applause when he recalled that the two cities are not only united by a bond that is rooted in time, but that they
still share the same battle today: “to be recognized by their central
governments for their role as capital cities.” According to the U.S.
Constitution, the District of Columbia, where Washington is located, is not
defined as a state but as a “federal territory under the authority of
Congress,” therefore its inhabitants do not have a right to representation in
Congress. “When I return to Rome – Alemanno promised Grey – I will write to
President Obama asking that he give representation to this city.”

 

SOURCE:  Italian Embassy | 08/06/2011 Posted in Italian Embassy|Tagged Gianni Alemanno, Giulio Terzi, Sister Cities, Vincent Gray

 

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