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City promotes cultural awareness with Sister Cities International program

New Brunswick is a member of Sister Cities International, a non-profit organization that connects cities around the world to each other to promote cultural understanding.

New Brunswick has sister cities in Tsuruoka and Fukui, Japan, Debrecen, Hungary and Limerick, Ireland, said Michael Tublin, director of International Programs in New Brunswick.

Tsuruoka was New Brunswick’s first sister city, which began partnership in 1960, followed by Fukui in 1982, Debrecen in 1990 and Limerick in 1999, he said.

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower created Sister Cities International in 1956, Tublin said. The objective of the program is to connect people of different cultures through various means to develop long-term relationships and international communication.

Since 1956, every President of the United States has served as Honorary Chairman of Sister Cities International, he said.

Tublin said the organization utilizes arts, education and culture to foster interaction between communities from opposite sides of the globe.

Just last month, New Brunswick used a cultural exchange to host Shinichi Higashimura, the mayor of Fukui, and his delegates to the University and the local city. Higashimura’s visit commemorated the 30th anniversary of Fukui’s relationship with New Brunswick.

Next to spreading cultural awareness, Sister Cities International also strives to promote economic development between two communities, according to a 2006 article from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

Building sister city relationships is especially beneficial for New Jersey, because it does not have the bustling metropolitan cities that other states have, according to the article.

There is a particularly strong tie between New Brunswick and Debrecen in terms of economic development, according to the article.

Both cities support pharmaceutical companies, universities, hospitals and museums, according to the article. Because both cities support similar institutions, New Brunswick Sister Cities hosted “TRADE 2000 — Developing Hungarian Business Partnerships” during the 1990s.

Sponsors of the TRADE 2000 conference included the Hungarian-American Chamber of Commerce of New York and New Jersey, the United States Department of Commerce, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Commerce, according to the article.

In Debrecen, Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceutical company based out of New Brunswick, shared medical supplies with health facilities in Hungary, the article read. Since then, Bio-gal, a Hungarian pharmaceutical company, has arranged further business relationships with the city of New Brunswick.

Johnson & Johnson has also sponsored Hungarian pediatric cardiologists to fly to the United States to receive specialized training from St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, the article said.

Since the exchanges between Debrecen and New Brunswick have started, Johnson & Johnson has been selling medical supplies to institutions in Hungary, according to the article.

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