On the 18th of October, 2014, at a panel discussion entitled “Building Peace Over Water in the Lower Jordan Valley: A Sister Cities Coalition” held at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to create sister city partnerships between US cities and Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli cities together.
The event featured a presentation by EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), Sister Cities International (SCI), and Citizen Diplomacy Initiatives (CDI), and a panel discussion with mayors from Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian communities in the Lower Jordan Valley. (click here for a flicker album of photos from the panel discussion)
Nader Khateeb, Palestinian Director explained that “since its launch in 2001, EcoPeace / FoEME’s award winning Good Water Neighbors project (GWN) has brought together Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian towns and cities to cooperate over transboundary water resources and jointly seek to advance a more sustainable peace in the region. We are delighted that today’s launch will add another powerful partner to the bottom-up community-led approach – cities and towns across the USA.”
Yossi Vardi, an Israeli Mayor of the Jordan Valley Regional Council who came to DC for this partnership launch said; “having U.S. cities join our trilateral efforts here in the region will empower our existing efforts and should help us see even earlier a rehabilitated Jordan River Valley as a symbol of peace.”
Sister city programs allow individuals on a local level to participate in improving relations through non-political cultural, educational, and other people-to-people exchanges. By creating permanent relationships, sister city programs offer the best opportunity for citizens to participate in creating a climate for the peaceful resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Adam Kaplan, Vice President of Sister Cities International explained further; “these new partnerships will expand the scope of the existing collaborative projects to include cultural, educational, business, sports and other sister city activities, thereby allowing U.S. citizen diplomats to participate in the trust-building process.”
Director of Citizen Diplomacy Initiatives, Steve Kalishma said; “by committing to connecting Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian communities with U.S. cities in multilateral sister city relationships, we will show that working together, U.S. and Middle East communities are a positive force for peace in the Middle East”.
For more information, contact:
Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director EcoPeace / FoEME; firstname.lastname@example.org; +972-52-4532597
Michal Milner, Assistant to the Director; email@example.com; +972-54-2080121