Mayor Cole visiting India next month

By Gus Bode

Plans to reestablish sister city, deliver tsunami relief

Mayor Brad Cole will travel to Shimla, India, next month to meet with local officials in an effort to rekindle a sister-city relationship that began more than 20 years ago, as well as provide direct aid to tsunami victims in India.

While Cole said his primary mission is to spark educational and cultural exchanges between the two cities, he will also donate funds that are currently being collected throughout the city.

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Cole, who hasn’t decided how long his visit will last, is spending $2,500 of his own money for the trip. The city will pay $500.

“We are living in a global environment, an economy and society without geographic boundaries, and reaching out to establish friendships and associations will enhance our presence in the world,” he said during his State of the City Address in November, where he initially outlined his aspirations to redevelop Carbondale’s long-lost relationship with India.

The relationship with Shimla began in 1971 but was overshadowed due to SIUC’s partnership with sister-city Nakajo, Japan. That relationship began in 1988 when the University established the international campus exchange program.

Ami Neiberger-Miller, communications director with Sister Cities International, based in Washington, D.C., said there are thousands of sister-cities across the globe and that those relationships foster friendships among people around the world.

“We want to work on how to be successful together,” Neiberger-Miller said. “We live in a global world.”

Anyone interested in donating money to support tsunami relief efforts may do so at the Carbondale Civic Center and all bank locations until Jan. 31. Checks may be made to the city of Carbondale – India Relief Fund.

Reporter Matthew Kent can be reached at [email protected]

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