Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sister Cities

Grande Prairie’s Sister City Agreement with Mazatlan, Mexico will be officially ratified Saturday when its mayor is in our community as part of a three-day visit by a five-member delegation.

The City will play host to the group throughout the weekend with tours of venues profiling economic development, educational and cultural opportunities (see backgrounder).

Presidente Municpal (Mayor) Jorge Abel Lopez Sanchez will be joined by his wife, Perla Sarmiento de Lopez, Presidenta del DIF (an agency similar to our Family and Community Support Services), Sergio Orozco Aceves, Director of Economic Development, Carmen Alicia Soto, Director of Public Relations, and Oscar Burgeno Lizarraga, Director of Planning and Development.

“The arrival of these municipal leaders represents the culmination of two years of relationship building with Mazatlan and we’re delighted this has opened the door to exciting opportunities,” says Mayor Dwight Logan. “Economic diversification is a priority for Grande Prairie. As a growing, vibrant city, we must have a global perspective to continue flourishing and initiatives like this will help pave the way.”

The agreement highlights opportunities for further exchange and co-operation in agriculture, resource development, tourism, education and training, culture, health, sports, environment, and science and technology and provides the potential for either municipality to identify other areas to explore.

“This visit by our Sister City representatives allows us, in a short period of time, to showcase our community and the many qualities it has to offer,” says Jean-Marc Lacasse, Manager of Economic Development. “We have already been approached by businesses considering how they can realize a competitive advantage by working with counterparts in Mazatlan.”

Last month, Lacasse and Carolyn Vasileoui, Grande Prairie Regional College Hospitality and Tourism Program Co-ordinator, undertook an exploratory trade mission to suggest to Mazatlan’s mayor that a formal agreement be signed and to meet with other dignitaries to explore possible partnerships with educational institutions from both communities.

The development of the agreement ties into the City’s Twinning/Sister Cities Policy, which calls for establishment of a global network of business relationships with communities and business groups in strategic market locations and creation of an international awareness of Grande Prairie’s business assets and location benefits.

Like Grande Prairie, Mazatlan is a regional centre. Historical ties revolve around Grande Prairie Rotary clubs providing medical, fire, ambulance, and school bus equipment to that city.

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