2005-08-05 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

From left, Mike Benn, Geraldine Chapey, Kiernan O’Hanlon, Councilman Gifford Miller, Patrick Dowling and Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr.
From left, Mike Benn, Geraldine Chapey, Kiernan O’Hanlon, Councilman Gifford Miller, Patrick Dowling and Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr.

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

On Monday, August 1, there was a meeting with Kieran O’Hanlon, City Councilor and the former Mayor of Limerick, Patrick Dowling, the Limerick City Manager, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, City Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Michael Benn and myself to discuss an affiliation between Limerick City, Ireland and New York City.

This Sister City linkage is working to promote international understanding through business, security and cultural exchanges by partnering New York City with selected cities around the world. Since New York City is a world leader and houses the main offices of the United Nations and the consular headquarters of many nations it is a natural for this type of arrangement. New York has been working on developing these types of co-operative endeavors since 1960. In the ensuing 45 years, New York has established worthwhile partnerships with 10 cities: Beijing, Budapest, Cairo, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Rome, Santo Domingo and Tokyo.

 In June 2005, New York developed a very innovative Sister City exchange program through an “Internet-based Educational Exchange Program (IEEP)”. Students in New York City teamed up with students in Budapest, Jerusalem, London, Madrid and Rome. They worked under the direction of their teachers and created a curriculum entitled “Cities Around the World”. Students were very creative and ingenious and developed neighborhood videos, virtual travel itineraries, travel brochures and pictorial exchanges. Through these projects, students are learning about each other’s communities, schools and families. This is a worthwhile people to people project. It fosters good will, tolerance and understanding.

 New York City hosted another sister city event which was a public art summit on “Strategies for Urban Public Art” in February 2005. Nine of the ten cities previously mentioned sent delegates. It was the first international conference to feature the municipal possibilities and problems of public art. This summit was scheduled to parallel the Gates Project for Central Park. As you recall the Gates Project was developed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude who are known worldwide. It consisted of 7,500 saffron colored fabric gates situated in Central Park. The summit conference participants had the thrill of meeting with and talking to the creators of this historic event. The exhibit was also here when the Olympic Committee visited New York.

In 2004, New York City invited the partnership cities to New York for a conference on “Transforming Government through Technology”. Beijing, Budapest, Cairo, Jerusalem, London, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo participated. Commissioner Gino Menchini, the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Information Technology and Communication, spoke to the attendees stressing the “importance of customer service, and how leveraging existing resources has contributed to successful consolidation and cost saving initiatives in NYC. He addressed the use of technological innovations in municipal governments and how New York City is pioneering this partnering of technological innovation and government responsiveness.” (Commissioner Menchini was honored by Trinity Services in May 2005 as the Esteemed Man of the Year for his outstanding contributions to New York City. Commissioner Menchini was appointed as Commissioner in December 2001. Commissioner Menchini has been serving the people of New York City for 20 years.)

New York City is a vital, vibrant and dynamic city. Through partnering with Limerick and other cities around the world we are maximizing our resources and energies. Limerick City is the third largest city in the Irish Republic. It has a population of over 150,000. Limerick serves as the regional capital of the Mid West of Ireland for banking, insurance, financial, management and education. It is a hub of legal, professional, advertiing, marketing and communication companies. It serves as a cultural and entertainment center. Shannon International Airport operates in the County of Limerick.

New York City and Limerick City share a vision for the future. We are looking forward to a wonderful working relationship between Limerick and New York. (Information for this article was obtained from Internet web sites.)

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