Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nairobi to be Raleigh’s fifth sister city



City of Raleigh, Noth Carolina
City of Raleigh, Noth Carolina
The Raleigh City Council today approved the bonding of the City of Oaks and the capital of Kenya as Sister Cities.
The Board of Directors of the Raleigh Sister Cities Association presented its recommendation to the City Council that the Capital City enter into an agreement with Nairobi to make it Raleigh’s fifth such “sibling.”
Efforts are underway to make the Sister City relationship official. Raleigh Sister Cites members are working with Nairobi officials on arrangements for the mayor of Nairobi, the Honorable George Omwera, to be in Raleigh for the bonding ceremony.
On Jan. 12, Mayor Omwera appointed a committee in Nairobi to lead its effort in establishing a successful partnership with Raleigh.  Captain George Njue of Raleigh has lead the effort locally for more than two years.
Both groups were excited by the similarities of the two cities. Both are capitals – Nairobi of the nation of Kenya and Raleigh of the state of North Carolina.
Like Raleigh, Nairobi is home to several institutions of high learning.  As Raleigh is hailed for its leadership in sustainability, Nairobi is home of the United Nations’ Environmental Program.  Nairobi is renowned in East and Central Africa for its dense tree-cover, plethora of green spaces and plentiful parks.  Of course one of the more noticeable characteristics of Raleigh’s physical profile are its more than 6000 acres of park land and 69-mile, 3700 acres greenway system.
Both cities are attractive to 21st century corporations, with Cisco, Airtel and Google all having regional headquarters in Nairobi.  The Kenyan capital has long been a focus of the textile industry in Africa.  Raleigh is world headquarters of Red Hat and home of North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, a fertile enclave of innovation and research.

The relationship between the people of Nairobi and Raleigh has been growing in recent years. Over the past decade, many Americans of Kenyan decent have made their home in Raleigh and the Triangle. In 2009, Nobel Prize winner and Nairobi resident,  Professor Wangari Mathaai spoke to the student and faculty of Meredith College in a tree planting on their campus, symbolizing the lasting important of environmental stewardship worldwide.
Nairobi also is a Sister City with Denver. Raleigh Sister Cities Sister Cities was created in 1956 by President Dwight David Eisenhower as the “main cog” for international citizen diplomacy.
Raleigh Sister Cities is an affiliate of International Sister Cities, Inc. It was initiated in Raleigh in 1983 with the establishment of Kingston-Upon Hull, United Kingdom, as Raleigh’s first Sister City. Raleigh now has active relationships with Kingston-Upon-Hull and: Compiegne, France; Rostock, Germany and Xiangyang, China.
For further information, contact Gretchen Chapman, president, Raleigh Sister Cities at 919-828-2276 or Capt. George Njue, chair, Nairobi Committee at 919-593-4975.

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