FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John D. Boswell
Beverly Hills Sister City Relationships Renewed
with Focus on Education and Commerce
Beverly Hills, CA (March 7, 2002) The official status of Beverly Hills as a participating city in Washington, DC-based Sister Cities International is set to be renewed on March 18, 2002, along with the official listing of Cannes, France and Acapulco, Mexico, the two cities with which Beverly Hills had held official Sister City status until 2000, as new programs focused on education and commerce are initiated.
The move comes after several years of inactivity between Beverly Hills and its French and Mexican Sister Cities, and with Beverly Hills no longer participating in an official status with the Washington-based organization. With the absence of Beverly Hills from the program, roster listings for Cannes and Acapulco had also been removed.
However, with the imminent renewal of Beverly Hills into the Sister Cities program, Cannes and Acapulco will both return, along with Beverly Hills, to enjoy active status listings with the Washington, DC-based organization, along with new programs promising ongoing interaction between the cities.
The effort to renew official status for Beverly Hills comes in response to the post-September 11, 2001 tragedies and the call from Sister Cities International to mobilize in local efforts to implement new projects which deepen international relationships and understanding worldwide.
“We really took this call seriously and wanted to develop some projects of substance with Cannes, specifically,” stated John D. Boswell, Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce & Civic Association Board Member and president of NeTV Networks, who brought together several individuals from a variety of backgrounds to spearhead new international activities. “We were asked to participate in the White House-initiated “Friendship Through Education” program, through our company’s educational partner, the Global SchoolNet Foundation, along with Sister Cities International, UNICEF, and several other international non-profit groups. This initiative was developed by the Bush Administration in October following the events of September 11.”
“When we were preparing these education-based program plans, we found that the city’s official status had been removed,” said Boswell. Working together with the Washington, DC-based group, a plan was formulated to re-instate the city’s status and concurrently re-list Cannes and Acapulco as the city’s two official Sister Cites. In addition, the group is creating a multi-faceted five-year plan to elevate the substance, visibility and value of the official relationships, as well as to possibly add new Sister Cities in regions such as Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
While the educational programs are to be developed with the San Diego County-based Global SchoolNet Foundation, and through the White House “Friendship Through Education” project, community-building plans also encompass many facets of business & industry, as well as grass-roots interaction between residents in the respective communities.
“Beverly Hills has a unique leadership role to play in education, media and many other community and business sectors. And the Beverly Hills Sister City program has such phenomenal potential to both influence and educate on a global basis, reaching far beyond the cities of Cannes and Acapulco,” said Yvonne Marie Andres, president, Global SchoolNet Foundation, who met with President George Bush at the White House during the October 25, 2001 launching of the “Friendship Through Education” program.
Beverly Hills Sister City Relationships Renewed
“In fact, the type of cutting edge plans and technology which the Beverly Hills group plans to incorporate are precisely what the White House, Sister Cities International and Global SchoolNet Foundation are looking for to motivate other cities in the US and abroad to get involved and begin to build deeper, lasting relationships between communities throughout the world.” The award-winning Global SchoolNet Foundation has pioneered international online collaborative learning since 1984 and produces online learning activities that prepare students for the workforce and help them to become literate and responsible global citizens.
The initial Beverly Hills plans include online student interaction encompassing history, culture and business, along with events and activities coinciding with the annual Cannes Film Festival, May 15 – 26, 2002. Participation in the White House-initiated “Friendship Through Education” program involves a focused effort to bridge western and Islamic cultures utilizing Arabic language conversion technologies.
Re-building the Beverly Hills – Cannes relationship is strongly supported by Sister Cities International. Cynthia Maka, Regional Director for the Washington, DC-based organization is encouraged by local collaborations which might deepen ties between the two cities, and similar programs which can be developed for Acapulco and other Sister City relationships. “It sounds like you have a good plan for solid collaborations,” remarked Maka, referring to the multifaceted plans and objectives of the Beverly Hills Sister Cities group. “Great work!”
“The tragic events of September 11, 2001, have inspired a global imperative to act. The elimination of worldwide terrorism and the promotion of international peace and friendship are the highest priorities,” stated Chuck Stokke, president, Sister Cities International. “Community-based initiatives, structured around Sister City partnerships, can provide a unique opportunity for communities worldwide to respond with passion, commitment and action.”
“We have specific plans to incorporate the Beverly Hills Sister Cities program into our company’s participation in the Student Mentor Program with the BHUSD, through the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association,” Boswell stated. “On March 18, we’ll announce the two students who we have chosen to be in our Mentoring Program for the remainder of this school year and through the 2002-2003 school year. We’re very excited to integrate this mentoring program into the overall plans we have for international relationship building through the Sister Cities program.”
The Sister City approach to international exchanges is centered on citizen-to-citizen diplomacy. Sister Cities International was founded in 1956 by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It remains renowned worldwide as a distinguished program that fosters international understanding.
The Beverly Hills Sister Cities program is designed to develop and sustain programs aimed at strengthening these global relationships, building bridges of understanding across nations and cultures.
For more information, contact: John D. Boswell, phone: 310.358.1925.
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