21 February 2012

Washington, DC and Sunderland, UK Sign Friendship Agreement


The UK's Sunderland City Council will be signing a "Friendship Agreement" with Washington, DC tomorrow, February 22, 2010. Sunderland is the only non-capital in the world to have such an agreement with Washington, DC. The original agreement was signed in 2006, and a formal renewal and signing will take place at the British Embassy with the UK's deputy head of mission to the US Philip Barton.In DC, delegates from Sunderland University, the Sunderland Chamber of Commerce and business representatives are joining Sunderland council chief executive Dave Smith at the Embassy renewal.

Delegates from the University of Sunderland tour the Washington Glass School
L-R Peter Fidler, Vice Chancellor Sunderland University, Angela Fidler, Erwin Timmers, WGS.

The delegation is attending a series of meetings, including a meeting with DC’s Mayor Gray - and a visit to the Washington Glass School.

Commercial Director of Sunderland AFC Gary Hutchinson said: “We all know that our city and region have strong links with the US and Washington DC. It was a major coup to see these strengthened in 2006, we’ve built upon that agreement and now we are about to renew it.”

Council leader Paul Watson said: “Since signing this historic Friendship Agreement with Washington DC, we’ve seen a range of economic and educational benefits.

“Young people in a number of our schools, as well as Sunderland Youth Parliament, have had the opportunity to learn more about America, explore issues important to young people on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as learn more about their own history and heritage.

In June 2006, Sunderland signed the original Friendship Agreement with Washington DC. The Friendship Agreement cements the city's unique historical link with Washington DC, as George Washington's ancestral home is located within Sunderland, England's boundary and sets out to create benefits for the people of both cities through economic, educational, and cultural co-operation as well as exchanges of experience in key policy areas.

Later this year, Washington Glass School's Professor Tim Tate and Professor Michael Janis will be teaching at the University of Sunderland and the UK's National Glass Centre as part of their Fulbright Scholarship, and continues the interaction between the two glass centers.

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